Matthew was a summer baby, born in August 1997.
‘Matt was polite, respectful, took responsibility… he loved his identification as a gentle giant… respecting people and treating people equally were central to Matt. It meant not only that he had to treat you with respect, but you had to do the same to him and he would take great offence if you didn’t.
He would never sit in the front of the car if there were older people in it, he always shook your hand when he met you and so should you’.
Matthew’s inquest heard about how he ‘was obsessive and could be rigid in his thinking’ and some of the difficulties it presented. On the flip side there are football clubs all over the country who rely on their supporter’s rigid thinking in that regard.
A Rochdale Football season ticket holder all his life, Matthew had an exceptional memory when it came to Rochdale and was able to recall the year, score and goal scorers of games long past. Matthew had an unwavering devotion to Rochdale, which when combined with his impeccable manners, meant he never left a match early:
‘You couldn’t leave a football match before the end, even when Rochdale were losing 4-0 with 4 minutes of extra time we still had to wait for the final whistle’.
Matthew had Aspergers and he liked order and structure.
You can read more about Matthew and what happened to him in the blog post below.
Having sat through all the evidence it remains clear to us that Matthew did not need to die. It is clear that Matt was let down and that better communication, an understanding of how Matts autism impacted on him, and listening to us more, would have resulted in a different outcome. Days before his death Matt said ‘Mum I want my detox before I die’. This had a powerful impact then, but it haunts us now.
We are privileged to have had this inquest, to learn much more, have our questions answered, get the chance to take the first step in holding some people and organisations to account. We were shocked to receive admissions and documents nearly two years after Matt’s death, and the coroner was astounded by Turning Point’s approach to disclosure. The admissions ran in the face of the previous constant denial.
Grateful though we are for these opportunities the inquest system is not loaded in favour of families who are often left alone to navigate complex legal processes. Many families are only able to be legally represented at court if they can afford to pay themselves. In our case this is in contrast to the five other agencies who all have legal teams funded by the state. It has been a long hard battle to get this far.”