Troubled man, 22, who tried searching for his birth parents after leaving home was found hanged in his adopted family’s garage, inquest hears

  • Ben Murphy, 22, was found hanged in the garage of his adopted parents
  • He had previously been asked to leave the home in December 2019
  • Adopted mother claims their family had been ‘walking on eggshells’ round him
  • Ben contacted biological parents almost a year after being asked to move out

A young man who embarked on a journey to discover his biological family was found hanged in the garage of his adopted parents’ home, a coroner heard.

Ben Murphy was adopted at the age of eight months with his brother Peter, leaving behind their sister Louise who was never adopted. 

In the years before his death, his adopted mother explained that the family felt they were ‘walking on eggshells’ before they asked him to leave the family home.

Giving evidence by video link to the inquest, Mrs Murphy said: ‘He could be derogatory and challenging at home, we all felt we were walking on eggshells around him. In December 2019 it became unbearable and we asked him to leave for a night and we put him up in a hotel.

Ben Murphy, 22, who embarked on a journey to discover his biological family, was found hanged in the garage of his adopted parents’ home, a coroner has heard (stock image of police tape)

‘He later continued to live in our family home but his behaviour started to change. He got fixated on exercise and said he felt he was at risk from asbestos. Ben and Peter had an argument in May and we had to call the police.

‘After that he moved out into his car for a few days before he moved to Oxford. In November he left the accountancy firm he was working for and worked for Amazon.’

Nearly a year after Ben was asked to move out, the 22-year-old got back in touch with his adoptive parents and they ate a meal together.

‘He was keen to know more about his biological family and got in contact through his aunt. He came over for lunch in April, it was a little strained but we let Ben back into the family home while he tried to find a new job. That evening I set up the spare room for him.’

After having left his adopted family’s home, he reached out to them to try and learn more about his birth parents – before moving back in with his adopted parents in Thame. Pictured: A general view of Thame in Oxfordshire

The Oxfordshire coroner heard that having avoided the family for over a year, Ben moved back into the family home in Thame before his adopted father Paul found his body hanging in the garage on the morning of April 27.

Sitting in the inquest, his biological sister Louise said: ‘Ben was exploring his biological family and making contact with them.’

Assistant coroner Nicholas Graham concluded a verdict of suicide after the young man was found in the garage in Thame.

Mrs Murphy added: ‘My husband and I adopted Ben when he was eight months old and his brother Peter. We have always been open about their history and adoption.

‘In recent years he had a difficult character and temperament, he needed to achieve highly. He got a job as a trainee accountant, he was so keen to do well he started studying before he started the job. He even arranged his own trip to America for six weeks.’

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