Coroner calls for updated security at level crossing after teenager takes his own life
PUBLISHED: 16:03 29 March 2019 | UPDATED: 12:03 01 April 2019
A Cambridgeshire coroner has called for improved safety measures at a railway level crossing where three young people have died.
Coroner Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp criticised the lack of “warning signs” and “security”, and said using a particular South Cambs crossing was a matter of “taking your chances”.
Mrs Rhodes-Kemp told the inquest at Lawrence Court, in Huntingdon, on Friday, that she will be writing to Network Rail and railway operator Govia Thameslink to ask them to investigate the possibility of installing safety measures at the two-track location.
Jayden Lowe, aged 18, of St John’s Farm, in Station Road, Meldreth, died from multiple injuries on September 22 last year, after he stepped onto the track and was hit by a train travelling at high speed.
Jayden, who was born Jessica Lowe, was receiving hormone treatment for gender reassignment, but had struggled to cope with the long waiting times for treatment and was only receiving hormone therapy after contacting a private clinic.
The inquest heard that Jayden had been aware of issues with his gender as a child and began wearing boy’s clothes and cutting his hair short at the age of 12, changing his name by deed poll when he was 17.
Jayden’s father, Neil, said his son hoped to study art history at Oxford University and, the night before his death, he appeared positive and was talking about university.
Mr Lowe said his son left the house just after 4pm on the day he died and they had exchanged text messages. Jayden told his father he was going for a walk as he had a stomach ache.
The family only discovered later that Jayden had been through a relationship break-up and had spoken to a friend about taking his own life in the hours before his death. The friend rang Mr Lowe who went to a train station at 7.10pm, but Jayden was already dead.
Jayden’s mother Claire told the coroner that Jayden had spoken to her about the long delays in his treatment and at one point he told her: ‘I can’t go on living like this’.
“He was living for the day when he could be a ‘proper boy’,” she said.
Mrs Rhodes-Kemp said she was satisfied that Jayden had intended to take his own life and recorded a verdict of suicide. The medical cause of death was one of multiple injuries.
The coroner said she would write to the two rail bodies asking them to investigate safety at the site, but said it was not in her remit to comment on NHS funding levels for transgender treatment.
After passing her condolences to the family, she told the hearing that the delays in Jayden’s treatment were a “significant factor” and described a rise in the number of young people in the county taking their own lives as “particularly distressing”.
“It seems to me that Jayden did intend to take his own life, but the precise details of what was going through his mind won’t ever be known,” she said.
We have not named the exact location of the crossing following advice from the Samaritans.
Help is available via the Samaritans, on 116 123 or www.samaritans.org, The MindEd Trust – at www.mindedtrust.org – and www.stonewall.org.uk.