A GRAVESEND teenager told his mother "I love you" in a final phone conversation just two days before he was found dead.

Edward Barry was 14 when paramedics were called to an address in Parrock Street at noon on November 20, 2009.

He was pronounced dead at the scene with a post-mortem examination the following day showing a fatal level of methadone and traces of diazepam in his system.

The Gravesend Grammar School pupil was found at the home of James Drummond, a much older recovering drug addict, who had known the teenager for three weeks before his death.

Barrister and coroner's council Christopher Sutton-Mattocks told an inquest at Gravesend Town Hall this afternoon that his parents Patrick and Justine feared for their son when he became involved with a new group of friends at school.

The then 13-year-old began going out with a girl, who can be named only as 'M' for legal reasons, around Christmas 2008.

Mr Sutton-Mattocks said: "This relationship became very intense very quickly.

"Edward began to tell his parents that he did not want to live at home.

"By the beginning of 2009 he began to harm himself by cutting his arms; not deeply but often."

By summer 2009 the youngster was frequently playing truant, being reported missing by his parents for days at a time and being seen by them and social worker Chris Grant in states of heavy intoxication.

Jurors heard Edward was arrested by police for stealing his grandmother's cash card and seen to drink from a bottle of methadone by friend Jake Devanney the same day as his final call home.

Mr Drummond returned to his flat at around 10pm on November 19 to find Edward "slumped up against the door" having broken up with his girlfriend the previous day, the inquest heard.

After getting a slurred response from the "very drunk" teen, his older companion put him to bed only to find his "lips had gone blue and were cold to the touch" when he awoke the next day.

The inquest continues.