A GIFTED teenager stepped in front of a high-speed train “on the spur of the moment” after struggling with concerns about his school studies and family, an inquest has heard.
Moments before the tragedy on Sunday, February 24, Jake Pirie, of Thornton Steward, near Bedale, said goodbye to his mother, Sarah, at Northallerton Railway Station as he was due to return to Uppingham School, in Rutland.
The Northallerton hearing was told train driver John Ashby saw the popular 6ft 6in sports fan and musician standing in the dark close to the platform edge and sounded his horn as a warning as he approached the station at 125mph, at 5.45pm.
Seconds later, the 17-year-old stepped on to the track and turned his back to the Edinburgh to Kings Cross train.
Mrs Pirie said Jake had appeared brighter following a weekend at home.
She said: “I wouldn’t have left him at the station if I had known [his state of mind]. There was no indication at all.”
She said there was a history of depression in the family and as a small child Jake had twice witnessed his chiropractor father, James, attempting to commit suicide, before they had discovered his father’s body in 1999.
Recording a conclusion of suicide, coroner Michael Oakley said: “It was no accidental matter. He was clearly observed on the CCTV camera to step forward on to the track.
“He had been ill and was concerned about getting behind in his work. It appears as if he has done what he has done on the spur of the moment.”
Following Jake’s death, British Transport Police and the Samaritans launched a scheme, including platform patrols, to try to deter people from jumping on to the tracks at the station, where there had been three other deaths in the previous 18 months.
Anyone experiencing feelings of depression and contemplating suicide can phone York Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90