Inquest rules on gay teen goaded to suicide by baying Derby mob
A gay student jumped to his death after being jeered at by members of the public, an inquest has heard.
Shaun Dykes, 17, died instantly after throwing himself off the top of Westfield Shopping Centre car park in Derby on September 27th last year.
People had shouted at Dykes, urging him to, “Get on with it,” and “Come on, stop wasting time,” while also filming footage on mobile phones that later appeared on YouTube and social networking sites.
Police negotiators had been speaking to Dykes, from Kilburn in Derbyshire, for two hours.
Detective Inspector Barry Thacker, trained negotiator told the inquest in Derby:
“Shaun was engaging with us. I had been sat with my arms out towards him.
“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. Then he said, “No”, closed his eyes and threw himself off.”
Earlier Shaun’s mother had received a text message from her son which read:
“I can’t cope with myself, I don’t know how to cope with anyone else.”
She had found letters inferring he was planning to commit suicide and told the inquest: “I tried ringing and ringing but he didn’t answer. Then he called me. I said, come back, come back.
“I was asking him where he was. He said Derby. He wouldn’t tell me anymore.”
The inquest was also told that Shaun had been suffering with depression and was upset over breaking up with his boyfriend five days previously.
As a verdict of suicide was recorded, Louise Pinder, Assistant Deputy Coroner for Derby, denounced the people that had urged Dykes to jump.
She said: “I am quite sure police officers were taken by surprise by the despicable people taunting Shaun.
“It’s inconceivable that, whilst negotiators were talking with Shaun, these mindless people were behaving with such insensitivity and without any apparent concern for a human being’s safety.
“The individuals who were taunting Shaun at that time, whose identities remain unknown, are responsible, at least in part, for his death.”
Chief Superintendent Andrew Hough said: “The city lost its humanity for a period of time that day.”