A 'BRAVE and beautiful' 15-year-old boy who had suffered severe pain since birth hanged himself at his Cotswolds home, an inquest heard.

Joseph Luke Gwilliam of The Old School House, Upper Dowdeswell, Andoversford - a member of a close and loving family - took his own life on August 22, last year, the inquest was told on Thursday.

The talented young artist, who was waiting to begin a course at SGS College, was on strong medication - Gabapentin - to manage the severe bowel pain which had plagued his life since he developed necrotising enterocolitis as a newborn baby, necessitating surgery.

Assistant Coroner for Gloucestershire Katy Skerrett said she had requested further information about the drug when she opened the inquest last December after noting a link between Gabapentin and side-effects of suicidal inclinations.

"But I am now satisfied that this allegation is undermined by further studies and it is the chronic pain itself which can lead to suicidal thoughts," she said.

Joseph spent much of his childhood in and out of various hospitals, including the Bristol Royal Hospital and the Royal London Hospital, for treatment for his gastro-intestinal problems and was awaiting an in-patient colonoscopy.

"He has had a lifelong history of pain and health problems and missed a great deal of school as a result of this, which led to him perhaps feeling somewhat isolated," said the coroner.

Hi father Mark, in a statement read out at the inquest, said "Joe was a fantastic boy and was part of a close and loving family and was also very close to his older brother Cas.

"He was bright, brave, modest, forgiving, polite and unique. He was irreplaceable and filled our lives with so much light and love."

His mother Jacinta Czaposka added "He was a caring beautiful boy who had a great sense of right and wrong and was very popular. But he struggled with the world and all its problems."

Mrs Skerrett said that Joe was very aware of the challenges that lay ahead at college and had gone into a panic about the future.

"He was also due to go into hospital for a colonoscopy which he was anxious about," she said.

Jo was found hanged at his home on August 22.

He was rushed to Cheltenham General Hospital but was pronounced dead at 6.55pm.

A post-mortem confirmed that death was due to hanging and the coroner concluded that Joe had committed suicide.