TRIBUTES have been paid by the devastated family of a teenager whose body was found in the New Forest.

Ben Law hanged himself after being suspended from his job at John Lewis in Westquay as he feared an alleged discrepancy would ruin his chances of becoming a police officer.

Ben’s mother, Lucy Law, told Winchester Corners’ Court that her son would drop everything to help anybody.

“He was intelligent, funny, very loyal and deeply caring about his family and so many friends”, she added.

“He knew he wanted to join the police and had just got through to the next stage in joining. He was excited.”

After leaving the retailer the former Barton Peveril student took a train to Ashurst in the New Forest and hanged himself in a field.

Before his death on December 9, the 18-year-old sent a message to his mother containing a map to the spot where he had decided to take his own life.

His father, Christopher Law, said they initially thought Ben’s colleagues had taken his phone and were playing a cruel prank or that his phone had been stolen.

“We contacted John Lewis and were told that Ben had left the store at lunchtime and that we should contact the police.”

Concerned for his son’s safety, Mr Law then drove from the family home in St Mary’s Road, Netley Abbey, to Deer Leap Lane in the New Forest, before continuing on foot to the field where he found his son.

Ben was taken to Southampton General Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Coroner Grahame Short said: “We can never know for sure why Ben took these actions. I feel it likely there were consequences he did not want to face.

“Young men seem to be vulnerable to impulsive actions and in these cases more likely to do something drastic.”

Mr Short concluded Mr Law’s death was the result of suicide.

After the inquest his family paid tribute: “Ben was a very much loved son and brother but also a great friend to so many.

“We are all absolutely devastated by his loss. However, we are proud of who Ben was and the way he lived his life with such fun and zest. We are certain Ben made the world a much better place and that his memory will live on forever.”

A spokesperson for John Lewis said: “We were very sorry to hear about the tragic news of Ben’s death and offer our sincere condolences to his family and friends.”