Inquest into death of Meldreth teenager opens on Monday

PUBLISHED: 13:21 10 June 2016 | UPDATED: 14:07 10 June 2016

Edward Mallen's dad Steve set up MindEd to raise awareness and improve attitudes to mental illness.

Edward Mallen's dad Steve set up MindEd to raise awareness and improve attitudes to mental illness.

Archant

An inquest will open on Monday into the death of a young Meldreth man who was killed when he was hit by a train.

Edward Mallen, 18, was head boy at both his primary and secondary schools and a gifted pianist. He was a straight A student and had an offer to study geography at Cambridge university.

But just before Christmas 2014, he became withdrawn and depressed. His condition deteriorated and on February 9 last year he ended his own life just a few hundred yards from the home where he grew up.

Since his death and following a public promise made at his funeral, Edward’s father Steve has become a prominent mental health campaigner.

He set up the MindEd Trust to promote better understanding of mental health problems among young people and recently organised a conference at Cambridge university, which drew politicians and mental health professionals from across the country.

Steve said: “Following the terrible death of my son, it has become clear to me that adolescent mental illness is one of greatest challenges facing this country. Together with many other parents and committed organisations, I am pressing for urgent reform throughout the health and education system. This is the very least Edward would have expected of me and the very least his generation deserves.”

The Mallen family’s lawyer is medical negligence specialist Sharon Allison, a partner with Ashtons Legal. “The loss of Edward Mallen is a catastrophic tragedy,” Sharon said.

“What we see in this case, together with countless others, is the continued disjointed, under-resourced and isolated way health-care agencies work in relation to mental illness, particularly in young people.

“This leads to trauma and tragedy as patients fall through the cracks in a broken system which lacks transparency and accountability. The current system is totally unacceptable.

“But I’m optimistic that the attention this case has attracted, together with the remarkable work Steve Mallen has achieved with The MindEd Trust, will help to turn the tide in this crisis.

“While this work is clearly essential, the purpose of the inquest is of course to establish the facts of the case and whether lessons may be learned. We will be doing all we can to assist the coroner in this regard.”

The inquest is to be held at Huntingdon town hall at 9.30am on Monday, June 13, and is scheduled to last for two days.

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