'He could've gone all the way' - Mum's tribute to aspiring boxer, 19

Hayden Murphy-Seaman, who died at the age of 19 

Hayden Murphy-Seaman, who died at the age of 19 - Credit: Bridie Nichols

An aspiring young boxer who took his own life was devastated by being torn away from his beloved sport during the Covid-19 pandemic, an inquest has heard.

Hayden Murphy-Seaman was a popular member of the Norwich Broadside Warriors Boxing Club, having taken up the sport at the age of 17. 

The former Earlham High School pupil used the sport as his therapeutic release, helping him manage his mental health issues, stemming from a difficult childhood and a fractured relationship with his father.

Hayden Murphy-Seaman was an aspiring boxer

Hayden Murphy-Seaman was an aspiring boxer - Credit: Bridie Nichols

But when the Covid lockdowns saw his boxing gym close, this crucial source of therapy was snatched away from him and his mental health deteriorated. 

It also saw much of his work as a self-employed roofer dry up, something else he passionately enjoyed.

His struggles led to him attempting to take his own life on a number of occasions across December and January, before he was found hanging in Henderson Park off Ivy Road in Norwich on January 23 last year. He was 19 at the time.

Speaking after the hearing, his mother Bridie Nichols said: "Just like he did with everything he did, he poured absolutely everything into his boxing and he could have gone all the way and become a professional. He skipped his bronze and silver awards and went straight for his gold, that is how seriously he took it.

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"He excelled in everything he did. He did excellently at work then went to college where he qualified as a personal trainer.

"If I could see him now I would just give him the biggest squeeze - he was my son, but he was also my best friend."

The inquest heard how Mr Murphy-Seaman had been sectioned under the mental health act in the weeks leading up to his death and admitted the Woodlands mental health facility in Ipswich Hospital.

Following an assessment at the hospital he was referred to the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust's crisis resolution home treatment (CRHT) team and discharged.

But with the teenager legally classified as an adult, hospital staff were not permitted to share details of his condition with his mother - much to her frustration.

She said: "Had he flipped his car on the A47 and ended up in hospital, I would have been called, so I don't understand why it should be any different with mental health?

"It also frustrated me that after attempts to take his own life he was put in a taxi and sent home from Ipswich. He easily could have got out of the taxi and tried again."

After his death, tributes flooded in from his friends and members of the boxing community, with a balloon release held in the park in his memory in the weeks that followed.

Mrs Nichols said: "He was just such a kind, caring gentleman. Whenever we walked outside he would stand on the roadside of the pavement. He said it was because if a car mounted the kerb it would hit him before me. 

"He was so loved - when we had the balloon release almost the whole estate came out.

"I think if anything were to come of his death it is to teach people his age that it is okay to talk about your issues and check in with each other - if one of his friends were going through a hard time he was always the first to check on them."

Hayden Murphy-Seaman, from Earlham

Hayden Murphy-Seaman, from Earlham - Credit: Bridie Nichols

The inquest heard that while seeking support of the mental health services he often grew frustrated by dealing with different members of staff each time he was spoken to.

He was dealt with by the CRHT team, but had attempted to contact wellbeing services and was in the process of being referred to the Trust's youth services when he died.

Andrew Mack, NSFT's director of services, said that since the teenager's death daily meetings were held between these different departments to discuss details of any contact they've had with patients in an effort to address this problem.

Yvonne Blake, area coroner for Norfolk, gave a narrative conclusion that Mr Murphy-Seaman had taken his own life after a deterioration of his mental health.

If you need help and support, call NHS 111 and select option 2 or the Samaritans on 116 123. Both services are available 24 hours, 7 days a week. You can also download the Stay Alive app on Apple & Android.