UK Teen Who Committed Suicide In 2010 Had Allegedly Been In Relationship With TV Star

In December 2010, 18-year-old UK fashion student Ben Cowburn (right) overdosed on drugs, killing himself and leaving behind a baffling and unnerving story. Cowburn, who had moved to London in 2009, had reportedly been in a relationship with a famous television actor that may or may not have led him to a compromised emotional state. Fueled in part by promises of gifts (in exchange for Cowburn's styling work), the romantic relationship was also heavily infused with drugs, alcohol, and, as some believe, unwanted sexual attention.

BencowburnPinkNews reports:

The comedian, who in the inquest was referred to only as “Mr X” to protect his identity, allegedly showered the teenager with gifts before taking him to drink and drug-fuelled parties.

The inquest also heard of how Mr Cowburn was persuaded to strip in front of a group of men and of how the comedian occasionally crept into his bed for sex.

Cowburn's parents were reportedly wary of the situation from the beginning as the comedian likely already had a stylist and did not need the student's help. When their relationship did end, Cowburn attempted suicide several times before being admitted to Longreach hospital. 

David Taylor, a nurse, told the inquest that the student had felt embarrassed and ashamed and thought he had been groomed by the man, although claimed the sexual relationship had been entirely consensual.

A different story from the Metropolitan Police claimed that when Cowburn could not pay for a cab to leave one of the actor's parties he was offered a bed and woke up to find the man lying next to him. The police noted that Cowburn's sister, Laura, said that she had been led to believe that he had been raped.

However, police decided there was no conclusive evidence that the teenager, who had sent Facebook messages to the celebrity, had been physically coerced into sex and therefore there were no grounds for questioning Mr X.


  1. Jere says

    Well, now that this case is being picked up by the press, it’s only a matter of time before Mr. X gets named.

  2. JOEY says

    It’s not that hard to find out who “Mr. X” is…I ferreted it out in under 10 minutes on the web. I am surprised that more haven’t…

  3. jomicur says

    It’s too bad the boy is dead, but what is the point of trying to sensationalize what happened? Towleroad is turning into the National Enquirer.

  4. woodroad34 says

    Openly gay, comedian, tv actor (according to the Mirror, at least), I wonder if it’s Graham Norton;

  5. Ranju says

    well, not saying he is… but when I googled “Ben Cowburn” a screenshot of a tweet by Stephen K Amos was included. The tweet stated that Amos was grateful to have Ben Cowburn in his life.

    sooo… who knows?

  6. Homo Genius says

    “Well, now that this case is being picked up by the press, it’s only a matter of time before Mr. X gets named”

    no. This is the UK and they have stricter laws. no one can print the name unless Mr. X is convicted of something

  7. anon says

    Okay, the police are all over the map, which is never a good sign. Did he commit suicide because he was in an abusive relationship or because the relationship ended? Please pick a side here, and what are the charges going to be then?

  8. EchtKultig says

    If you’re 17 and you’re moving to the big city to party with the “cool” people, you better be prepared to look after yourself, whether your a gay male or a female. Or a straight male! As someone posted on another website, this is only sensational because it was M-M and nobody would use the term “groomed” if it were a young woman and an older man.
    BTW this isn’t a UK website, so if someone knows, please just post it here. I hope it’s not Graham Norton as I’m quite a fan of some of his clips on youtube. His talk show is light years more advanced than any of ours.

  9. Rowan says

    It’s Stephen K Amos. Seen him with young dorky ~Uni kids before out and about but people are right, this isn’t grooming if it was a woman!

    People need to make up their minds-when a woman beats a man, SHE is the victim, when a man is an a-hole to another guy in a relationship, he is a sick predator.

    Society is so full of sh*t.

    Amos’s crime is being an a-hole with intimacy issues.

  10. Jim says

    He was not groomed but his family did ignore that he was in danger. How do you attempt suicide so many times and not have your family get involved.

  11. Phillip Wand says

    I can spin around twice without falling. How many of you posting on here can honestly say that?

  12. k thomson says

    It was easy to find out simply put dedication and Ben’s name and Stephen K amos comes up

  13. Zeta says

    Stephen K Amos is a predator, and would be one whether the kid was a female or a male. I’m not sure where people are getting that no one would say he was ‘groomed’ if he were female. Are things really that different in Old Blighty?

  14. Zeta says

    On the other hand, the interracial aspect would get way more play here in the States than the gay aspect, so props to the UK for not going down that road.