What happened the night my son died?

Liam Creer with daughter Mia

Liam Creer with daughter Mia

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A DISTRAUGHT mother has opened her heart about her quest to find the truth about the tragic death of her son.

Gloria Caley, 60, has lived in turmoil for almost two years ever since son Liam Creer was found dead on a yacht in Ramsey harbour in July 2009.

FAMILY ALBUM: Gloria with Liam, who she described as her best friend as well as her son

FAMILY ALBUM: Gloria with Liam, who she described as her best friend as well as her son

An inquest, conducted by coroner Alastair Montgomerie, found the 35-year-old had died from a heroin overdose.

But Gloria claims the full facts of the case have never been disclosed to her and that the information she has raises more questions than it provides answers.

She has called on police to clear up what she sees as a string of discrepancies and allow her to try to get on with her life.

However, the police this week told the Manx Independent they were confident of their inquiry and that the coroner’s verdict was correct.

‘I live on my own, I used to go to work, I was quite independent,’ said Gloria. ‘Now I can’t go outside the door.’

Gloria has been supported through her difficult time by family and friends, including Liam’s ex-partner Emma Tapping, the mother of his nine-year-old daughter Mia.

‘If I go down to the shop, Emma comes with me and we don’t go that often,’ she said.

Gloria, who also has two daughters, was on holiday in the Orkney Islands when she received the terrible call.

‘All I could hear was screaming and screaming and screaming,’ she said. ‘It was my sister, I found out eventually. I just collapsed.’

Gloria flew home to the island and was met by her two daughters.

In the ensuing weeks she claims she had intermittent contact with police, who were never able to update her with what was happening with the investigation.

She became so frustrated she enlisted the help of Peter Karran MHK, who helped arrange a meeting with CID, but following that Gloria said she felt none the wiser.

Having been told her son did not have a mark on him when he was found dead, she later obtained a photograph showing bruising and burns to his arm. But these were not mentioned in the post-mortem examination report.

She has also raised concerns over the whereabouts of some evidence – blood-covered sticky tape – found by paramedics on Liam’s body, which she claims was also not mentioned in the post-mortem report.

Gloria, who lives in Braaid Road, is also concerned by the fact no explanation has been offered as to why there was an approximate two-hour delay between Liam’s time of death and the arrival of paramedics.

And she has questions over whether her son, who was right-handed, would have been able to inject himself in the right arm so precisely when he was found to be three times over the legal drink-drive limit at the time of his death. Plus, she said Liam had a well documented fear of needles.

‘I have just been passed from pillar to post,’ she said.

In an attempt to try to make sense of Liam’s death, Gloria and one of her daughters visited the yacht where he died, armed with a witness statement.

‘We tried to recreate what happened from the statement,’ said a visibly shaken Gloria. ‘My daughter tried to play the body. We should never have had to do that.’

When the inquest into Liam’s death was held, Gloria was shocked to discover none of the witnesses she’d requested were present.

She and Emma were both unhappy that more questions were not asked about what happened the night Liam died.

‘His death has been brushed under the carpet, the inquest was a joke,’ said Gloria, who believes her son’s death was probably linked to a police drug raid at his home the night before he died and raids on his home 15 months previously.

Emma puts the raids down to ‘guilt by association’ as Liam had a couple of friends who were heroin users.

The inquest did conclude that it was unlikely Liam was an experienced heroin user.

But for Emma, this did not go far enough. One of the most difficult aspects of her ex-partner’s death has been the effect it has had on her daughter Mia, who has had to deal with playground jibes calling him a ‘druggie’.

‘She was calling me during the inquest to find out what had happened to her dad and I really didn’t know what to say to her,’ said Emma, 30.

She added: ‘The way Gloria and Liam’s sisters have been treated since the day he died is disgusting.’

Gloria hopes that by going public with her concerns she will get to the bottom of her son’s death.

‘Maybe someone, somewhere, can help me,’ she said. ‘I have done nothing for nearly two years now. I’ll be honest with you, I’m a wreck, I can’t even get up. I’m 60 going on 160.

‘Liam was just a lovely lad, we went everywhere together. He wasn’t only a son to me, he was my best friend.

‘I know I’m never going to get him back but I just want them to answer some of my questions.’

When approached for a comment, a police spokesman said: ‘This inquiry, as with any unexplained death, was pursued with absolute rigour. Underpinning that is the meticulous inquest process, led by the coroner, and we have no doubt that the verdict reached was the right one.

‘The constabulary prides itself on the way it supports bereaved relatives and Mrs Caley received the same high standards as any other person who finds themselves in the unbelievably sad position of having lost a loved one.

‘Sometimes, through grief, it is understandable that no matter how many times that circumstances are explained, it is impossible for a relative to come to terms with what has happened, and come to terms with their loss.’

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