THE heartbroken mother of a young Exeter man who was found dead at his home has led the tributes to her “free-spirited” son.
Mystery still surrounds the circumstances of the death of Ashley Kelly, a popular former student at Exeter College.
And Suzanne Riddock told the Echo she will do everything she can to get to the truth of what happened to her son.
The 22-year-old was pronounced dead by paramedics who were called to the scene in Merrivale Road, Cowick, on Friday morning.
Police attended with a pathologist and initially treated the death as “suspicious until otherwise determined”.
But a spokesman said that although the cause of death was currently “unexplained”, investigations had quickly shown there were no suspicious circumstances.
A post mortem was due to be carried out yesterday and officers are preparing a file for the coroner.
Ashley’s mother Suzanne was on holiday when she received the devastating phone call from police that she says “ripped my heart apart”.
She has subsequently been told there was no sign of foul play, but has pledged to continue to fight to discover the full truth of what happened to her son.
She said: “I have had my heart ripped out by this and I have lost my first born. But ‘why?’ is the question. I need answers and I need to get to the truth.”
Ms Riddock said she last spoke to Ashley last Thursday at around 10pm, and said he was in “good spirits”.
His body was discovered at 7am the next day.
In a message to her son she said: “This is such a huge shock. You were happy with new arrangements that had been made and I was one day from being home.
“We still don’t know what happened but the truth will appear.
“I know you were a free spirit and were always the apple of my eye. You, I hope, are at peace. And know we all love you.
“The family list is endless but everyone is heartbroken. You shouldn’t have passed over before me. I want to say, with the unfair set of cards you were dealt, I am so, so proud of you.
“All the family on my side and your dad’s are horrified. Because we love you so very much.
“You will be my bright angel forever.”
Since his death tributes have been pouring in for Ashley and these are a small selection of some that have been posted on the Echo’s Facebook page.
Yasmin Western wrote: “Thoughts are with the Kelly family. R.I.P! The whole of Merrivale Road is thinking of you all.”
Tara Louise Densham wrote: “Absolutely heartbreaking! I still can’t believe what has happened. We will always remember what a lovely lad you were Ash.”
Daz Jetski wrote: “I am gutted mate and can’t believe it. You are a good lad mate and we’ve had some fun times.”
Kirsten Bailey wrote: “Only met Ash a few months ago with his girlfriend Becks, lovely genuine guy. Had a good old laugh with him. My thoughts are with his family. You’ve been taken far too soon. R.I.P Ash.”
A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said: “When we first attended the scene, the cause of death was treated as initially suspicious until otherwise determined. This is standard procedure in a death such as this.
“A pathologist also attended and it was very quickly determined that there were no suspicious circumstances and the next of kin were kept fully informed.
“A post mortem will determine cause of death and until that time it remains ‘unexplained’. We are investigating the circumstances around the death to prepare a file for the coroner but it is not being treated as suspicious.”