Teenager killed himself after $700 bill for Xbox games on mother's credit card

Like all good things, gaming is best enjoyed responsibly, although as with anything else, many of us over-indulge our gaming appetites from time to time. But as we have seen in endless reports of kids racking up huge bills in mobile apps, children cannot always be trusted to act responsibly when it comes to gaming.

This reality was tragically hammered home this week as an inquest opened into the death of 13-year-old Henry Tattersall from Lancashire, United Kingdom.

The inquest heard that the boy had racked up a bill of £420 GBP (around $700 USD) on his mother’s credit card, purchasing games for his Xbox. He was said to be upset after being confronted by his mother, Eve, about the sizeable bill. She told the inquest that Henry was "genuinely stunned" by how much money he had spent on gaming purchases. He had even told his mother to take the money from his savings to make up for it. 

Henry later spoke with his girlfriend on Facebook in a conversation that included discussion of Declan Gatenby - a 13-year-old friend who had hanged himself earlier in the year. After speaking with his girlfriend more about his situation, he told her on Facebook, “I’m going to kill myself.” He immediately proceeded to do so, and his body was found minutes later. 

The teenager’s death actually took place in November last year, but the details have only recently been made public in the inquest. The coroner recorded a verdict of misadventure, suggesting that Henry may not have intended to actually kill himself. Henry suffered from ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and a 'vast range' of behavioural problems.

Source: Rossendale Free Press via ITV News | image via Rossendale Free Press/Facebook

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67 Comments

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God that's put a lump in my throat, the poor kid. Thankfully I am sensible when it comes to finances. If you haven't got it, then you can't spend it. But my heart goes out to the poor parents.

I wish I never read that now... It's articles like these that stick in your mind. This will play on my mind now...

Wow. Some of the replies here...

13 years old, £420 ($700) debt that he didn't realise that he had racked up. We can sit here as adults and say, "this isn't good, but things happen. Learn from your mistakes." I've paid for a taxi ride that cost more and I've regretted it.
The difference is that I am in control of my finances, and when I make a stupid decision I realise that either I can sort myself out or I can rely on the kindness of friends and family to understand my position and help me help myself. As the article points out, the child had a similar mentality of realising that he had screwed up and he wanted to make amends.

He wasn't stupid, he felt personal pressure and reacted in an unnecessary way. Everyone has those moments where they want the ground to swallow them whole to get out of something, yet we go through it and come out the other side. Instead he acted on his knee-jerk reaction and now can't take it back.

A terrible piece of news, such a shame.

Stupid kid. he should have been more responsible and not rack up such a high bill. Kids these days don't think. They only do and blame others(not always, but that's the trend). if some1 knew of his condition, they could have kept an eye on him.

They love trying to say kids have that ADHD thing when all it is lack of discipline. The belt could have solved this problem years ago and it never would have gotten to this point. If you put fear in kids early on you won't have problems like this. I have cousins whose mom's claim the kids have ADHD. I had to watch her kids one day. And within 5 minutes of her leaving they were perfect little angels. All because I put fear in them.

This is why having a credit/debit card attached to a points based system isn't a good idea if you have children, It's easy for the young to get carried away without realising how many £$ the points translate too.

I doubt a kid with an attention deficit will pay that much attention
Next > Next > Next > Game

Personally I would attach a prepaid debit card to consoles and transfer the money over when needed, they cant spend what they don't have!

Louisifer said,
I doubt a kid with an attention deficit will pay that much attention
Next > Next > Next > Game

Personally I would attach a prepaid debit card to consoles and transfer the money over when needed, they cant spend what they don't have!


I agree on the prepaid debit card part.

naap51stang said,
Sounds like this kid had more problems than just spending that much on xbox games.

he needed help early on, which he clearly did not receive.

OK, kid wasn't wrapped too tight to begin with obviously, but it is sad that it came to this - though the xbox game buying wasn't really a factor in the real issue, it was an unfortunate catalyst to drive a troubled teen into the arms of death.

I feel for the parents. Wonder if MS will allow them to reverse the charges and return the games?

Skin said,
OK, kid wasn't wrapped too tight to begin with obviously, but it is sad that it came to this - though the xbox game buying wasn't really a factor in the real issue, it was an unfortunate catalyst to drive a troubled teen into the arms of death.

I feel for the parents. Wonder if MS will allow them to reverse the charges and return the games?


Knowing MS, i bet 75/25 where MS won't. if this were apple, then no would be the only answer.

The problem in some families where money is tight and something like this happens, the parents go over the top in order to punish the kid. In some cases where the parent does extreme punishments leaves the kid feeling like there is no way out, and as a result, in some cases, this happens.

Reminds me when I was a teenager and one of my friends that suffered from bipolar disorder stole his moms credit card and ran up like a 1200 dollar bill with car crap and she confronted him and grounded him for a month and th next day he wanted to goto the homecoming football game she refused and after a big fight he killed himself while she was out on a walk to calm down.

Very sad news indeed.
My deepest condolences to the family.
There should be implemented some sort of confirmation method for the owner of the card when the credit is used. Even if only applied to values above a specific value.

MidnightDevil said,
Very sad news indeed.
My deepest condolences to the family.
There should be implemented some sort of confirmation method for the owner of the card when the credit is used. Even if only applied to values above a specific value.

I don't feel for the kid, maybe for the family. Something could have been done, yet it was not, and look what happened.

what mother lets their 13 year old kid have access to their credit card?

hell, who has a credit card and doesn't bother monitor the card to see if it's being accessed without their knowledge/consent?

He could have asked for it once and then had the details saved. After that he no longer needed the physical card and the mother would never have known. Or like me he could have just asked for it. I was able to use my parents' card every once in a while with permission. The mother clearly did monitor its use as she confronted her son about the charges.

It isn't the mother's fault though. The CC charges was just the last straw for this poor kid. It is definitely clear that he had other issues.

mnl1121 said,
He could have asked for it once and then had the details saved. After that he no longer needed the physical card and the mother would never have known. Or like me he could have just asked for it. I was able to use my parents' card every once in a while with permission. The mother clearly did monitor its use as she confronted her son about the charges.

It isn't the mother's fault though. The CC charges was just the last straw for this poor kid. It is definitely clear that he had other issues.


If i would have asked my mother for stuff like this at that age, then she would have said no right away, she was being responsible, as was i.

soldier1st said,

If i would have asked my mother for stuff like this at that age, then she would have said no right away, she was being responsible, as was i.

Don't get me wrong. My mom said no most of the time lol. There were a few exceptions. If I wanted to I could have saved all the information and used it any time I wanted to though. Just like this kid could have.

RabbitPunchies said,
This is terrible. My condolences. To anyone who has a kid, please let them know they never need to do this to get out of a problem.

There is only so much you can do. Some will listen, while others will not. Force is sometimes needed, but talking is more preferred.

Yeah, the bill wasn't why he killed himself, he clearly had underlying issues. It did however set in motion a terrible chain of events.

I feel sorry for the family, not something parents should ever have to do burying their children

I feel bad for the kid too, going through so much pain that he felt it was the only way out. Must be terrible to feel that way. Too bad he didn't get the help he needed.

Geezy said,
I feel bad for the kid too, going through so much pain that he felt it was the only way out. Must be terrible to feel that way. Too bad he didn't get the help he needed.

I don't feel for the kid unless he had a mental illness that caused him to be that way(maybe then i may feel for him), if the parent was being decent n all, then i may feel for the parents.

We don't know what was happening in his life at the time but it might not have been the amount of money that was the issue but the fact that it had happened at all. Perhaps he thought he'd been tricked - the way people perceive the world, especially those with ADHD, can be very different to how we see it.

Some of the more sensationalist news outlets will focus on the fact that it was over a computer game and blame the industry as a whole on what happened and sadly that'll stop people looking more at the condition the poor boy was living with.

RIP Henry and condolences to your family and friends.

that's quite bad but £420 is hardly anything to kill yourself over unless he didn't understand money. £4200 would of bin more like it. If money was a ilbit tight £42 a month extra for 10 months and it would of bin paid back

Yeah, but it's a shame he killed himself over it

but to kill yourself over that amount of money automatically makes you assume he's clearly got issues. it's just a shame though that his parents have to deal with his death as that had to come as a shock to them as no one would ever think a kid would hang himself over something like that.

Thrackerzod said,
Sounds like he had some bad emotional problems already, I don't think the Xbox is to blame.

The kid himself is to blame, unless he had shoddy parents. The Xbox does not play itself. he had a choice, either to play or not to play. he wasn't forced to play, therefor all blame for xbox is off.

Title should read "teenager killed himself cause he was depressed" the £420 was just a catalyst ... sensational reporting at it's best

Som said,
Title should read "teenager killed himself cause he was depressed" the £420 was just a catalyst ... sensational reporting at it's best

Not really, he may have been depressed or had issues but ultimately it was his actions that caused upset that resulted in him wanting to kill himself.

Som said,
Title should read "teenager killed himself cause he was depressed" the £420 was just a catalyst ... sensational reporting at it's best

Agreed. The kid obviously had issues and the bill was the final straw.

Som said,
Title should read "teenager killed himself cause he was depressed" the £420 was just a catalyst ... sensational reporting at it's best

You are exactly right. Such sensationalism causes an attack on the apparent cause when the reality is that no sane kid would do such a thing, which cannot be blamed on the console. Either the home conditions/social leave a lot to be desired or the kid had other issues that were much deeper set. Poor kid and family.

Heartripper said,
Why the hell did his mother give him her cc details?

Doesnt matter really. Doesnt sound like she necessarily did anything wrong. No parent would think it could ever lead to this.

Heartripper said,
Why the hell did his mother give him her cc details?

Its quite common these days, parents are then surprised when the kids over use them

If you have your account connected to XBL you can run a muck buying things. My 6 year old has bought a couple of movies like that. He thought he was renting and then a $20 charge shows up in my email. *sigh* Anyway it's a bummer for his friends and family.

To be fair you cant put this on the parent and cc details. How many time have we heard people complaing about removing there cc details off xbox such a mission. I have spent time trying to get it off and gave up and moved on.

Heartripper said,
Why the hell did his mother give him her cc details?

Often times parents don't realize services like xbox live save the CC details.

I remember using my parents cards (with permission) as a kid when I was too young to have my own. I'd pay my mom in cash and use her card on whatever I needed to order online. Maybe it was something similiar originally.

ModNet said,
699.53 British Pound Sterling equals 1166.26 US Dollar
First of all why are you spamming this so many times (4 at last count) on the same article? Next why don't you try reading the article properly? The bill amount was $700, not £700.