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Teenager Copied His Dad's Railway Suicide

14/08/2014 16:52 | Updated 22 May 2015

Teenager copied his dad's railway suicide

A teenager killed himself by standing in front of a train four years after his father died in the same way.

An inquest heard how Marcus Rawlings, 19, from Bicester, Oxfordshire, had suffered a 'life changing event' - a reference to his father Andrew ending his life after the break-up of his marriage to his wife, Marcus's mother, Tracey.

His father left notes to his family and sent a string of text messages to his wife and her mother before being struck by an intercity train near Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, in January 2009.

An inquest into his son's death heard how he had always denied feeling depressed to doctors and had no history of mental heath problems, although he had encountered a series of setbacks including failing to get into the Army because of knee injuries.

Marcus's girlfriend Megan Benfield told the inquest that her boyfriend said he would not see her again the day before he was struck by a train.

The coroner heard that the McDonald's worker, who planned to undertake a mechanic apprenticeship, died after walking on tracks near Bicester.

There were no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death on April 8 this year, and no drugs or alcohol was found in his body.

His GP, Dr Kim Wallace, who had seen him three days before his death, said in a statement: "There was no depression and no suicidal thoughts."

His girlfriend's statement said: "He never confided in me about the anxieties he may have had."

Megan said she received a text message stating that Marcus needed to tell her something important.

"He told me: 'I don't know how to tell you this, but I won't be here tomorrow'," she said. "I asked him to stop and screamed at him for an explanation. We talked it through and some services that might be able to help. After about an hour he seemed more like himself.

"He then started talking about future plans and he put some music on and we watched some TV. His mood increased considerably and he was even joking around.

"My dad picked me up the next day as I was working. I told him [Marcus] to go to the doctors. His mood had darkened again. This was the last time I saw Marcus."

She said she exchanged 'reasonably normal' texts with her boyfriend that day, but added: "At about 2pm, I noticed a long text which caused me concern and made me extremely worried. I went to his house and found out the awful news."

The coroner was told that train driver Peter Ward was operating the Marylebone to Stratford-upon-Avon train during a 6.30am to 1.30pm shift.

He said in a statement: "I saw a man who seemed to appear from nowhere. I just about had time to sound the horn..."

Referring to her late husband's death, Marcus's mother said in her statement read aloud in court: "When he [Marcus] was 15 years old there was a life-changing event for him."

Recording a suicide verdict Oxfordshire coroner Darren Salter said: "It is not a case of someone falling onto the tracks. This was a deliberate act.

"I have to consider what is in someone's mind. It's not so straightforward just with the act. There is no mental health history and he saw his GP on April 5.

"There was no cause for concern. But we have the texts and the letters and I am satisfied that I can be certain of his intentions that he took his own life and that is the verdict I am going to record."

You can contact The Samaritans on 08457 909090.

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