Mob’s taunts drove suicide boy to jump
A SIXTH-FORMER leaped to his death from a multi-storey car park after onlookers shouted up at him to “jump” and “stop wasting taxpayers’ money”, an inquest heard yesterday.
By Martin Stote
PUBLISHED: 00:00, Fri, Jan 16, 2009
Shaun Dykes 17 was told to get on with it before plunging 60ft to his death Shaun Dykes, 17, was told to ‘get on with it’ before plunging 60ft to his death
Gay Shaun Dykes, 17, who had just split up from his boyfriend, had seemed ready to step back from the 60ft drop after spending 90 minutes talking to police negotiators.
But after hearing taunts from the crowd which had gathered below, he closed his eyes, counted down from ten and jumped to his death.
Earlier that day, Shaun had sent his mother Tina a text which read: “I can’t cope with myself, I don’t know how to cope with anyone else.”
A clinical specialist who had cared for Shaun described him as a “lovely, capable straight-A student with a bright future” and said she was “beyond disgusted” that others had encouraged him to kill himself.
Detective Inspector Barry Thacker, a trained negotiator, told the inquest that attempts to talk Shaun down were hampered by members of the crowd taunting the teenager. He said: “Shaun was engaging with us but once the shouts came up he would disengage, close his eyes and count down to ten.
I think that this city lost its humanity for a period of time that day.
Chief Superintendent Andrew Hough
“That happened on three or four occasions but we managed to get him back and continued talking to him.
“The shouts were things like ‘jump’, ‘get on with it’ and ‘come on, stop wasting time’.”
Mr Thacker said he had almost persuaded Shaun to come down when one final taunt appeared to be too much for him.
He said: “I had been sat with my arms out towards Shaun. He bent down to reach down to my hand when there was a shout of, ‘You’re wasting taxpayers’ money’.
“He stood up, said ‘It’s gone too far’, and started counting down. My colleague tried to get him to re-engage.
“At that moment I thought he was going to come back down but he said ‘No’, closed his eyes and threw himself off.”
Shaun, who had previously suffered from depression and had taken two overdoses, died instantly from multiple injuries on September 27 last year.
The inquest in Derby heard that Shaun had split up with his boyfriend five days before he plunged from the city’s
Westfield shopping centre car park.
He had been staying with his grandmother in Kilburn, Derbyshire, next to his mother Tina’s home.
On the day he died, she realised he was missing and called police after finding two disturbing letters.
She said: “I tried ringing and ringing but he didn’t answer. Then he called me.
“I said, ‘Come home, come back’. I was just asking him where he was. He said Derby. He wouldn’t tell me any more.”
After yesterday’s verdict of suicide, Chief Superintendent Andrew Hough launched a scathing attack on those who had goaded the student.
He said: “Some people need to look in the mirror.
“I think that this city lost its humanity for a period of time that day.”
His views echoed those of Derbyshire Chief Constable Mick Creedon, who spoke out shortly after Shaun’s death.
He described the actions of those who taunted the teenager as “totally abhorrent”.
He added: “It disgusts me to think of their motivation and their lack of compassion towards a fellow human being obviously in distress.”
Rob Howard, headteacher of Heanor Gate Science College, where Shaun was a pupil, said: “One student told me he could not believe people place such little value on life.
“It’s almost like they are in a television show. It’s unreal.”