A CORONIAL inquest is being held into the death of an Adelaide boy, 9, who ate stones and dirt while at a care home.

Deputy State Coroner Anthony Schapel today began hearing evidence int the April 2011 death of Lawrence Betts.

Lawrence was living at a respite facility for children with special needs at the time of his death in April 2011 and was under the guardianship of the Minister for Families and Communities.

He was was born with an intellectual disability, a cleft palate and also suffered from pica - an eating disorder which caused him to eat non-food items that he found around him.

Today, Mr Schapel heard evidence that a post-mortem found stones, soil and a dehydrated rice in his body.

The post mortem found the cause of death was sigmoid volvulus - an intestinal obstruction.

Forensic pathologist Professor Roger Byard told the inquest Lawrence was "always at risk (of sigmoid volvulus)... but when you add heavy material like stone, soil and rice... it would worsen his chances".

Counsel assisting the deputy coroner Naomi Kereru said there was a report on Lawrence which stated his "favourite activity was playing outside, he likes to dig in the dirt however he also likes to eat it if not supervised".

Senior constable first class Luke Bertram told the inquest witnesses reported Lawrence liked to play in a clam-shaped pool that had dehydrated rice at the bottom.

The inquest continues.  (Source : http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/inquest-into-death-of-adelaide-care-home-boy-who-died-after-eating-dirt-and-stones/story-e6frea83-1226621849991)

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