A 13-year-old schoolboy has killed himself after viewing and posting material about suicide online during lockdown, an inquest has found.
Zaheid Ali jumped off Tower Bridge on April 20, 2021 after getting off a bus.
His body was pulled from the River Thames eight days later near a pub in Wapping, east London.
The Inner South London Coroners Court heard his suicide note contained the lyrics to a Japanese song telling the story of a 14-year-old girl who kills herself.
He also followed someone in the US who took their own life, posted a “countdown” on YouTube and wrote on Twitter about his desire to kill himself, the hearing was told.
A March 2021 WhatsApp exchange with school friends found after his death revealed that he said: “I hate life right now and I kind of want to give up.”
His father, Mumen Ali, said at the hearing he was “baffled” by what happened to his son – who was born prematurely and suffered from a digestive disorder called internal malabsorption – as his behavior appeared normal.
Mr Ali said his son was “taped to his phone” over the Easter holidays and “got stuck in his bedroom” before killing himself, but his parents didn’t think his behavior was unusual.
He added, “We put it down to his hormones changing from a boy to a man.”
Mr Ali also said he believed his son was concerned about Islamophobia after a shooting at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March 2019 that killed 51 people.
Una Sookun, assistant principal at Ark Globe Academy in Elephant and Castle, south London, where Zaheid was an 8th year pupil, told the court he was “very academically capable” but “quiet” with a “very small friendship group”.
He appeared to “enjoy studying” in seventh grade, but when lockdown began he began struggling and didn’t engage in his schoolwork as well.
When schools closed again between January and March 2021, he was allowed to be among a small group of students who were still able to attend classes in person, but he initially didn’t go because he feared catching the coronavirus on the bus.
In September 2020, a “minor concern” was raised when he posted religious messages on a school chat forum.
Two months later, in a similar chat room, he “called for death,” saying he should never have been born.
On January 25, 2021, he emailed his tutor and said he was struggling to wake up at 8am despite trying.
Ms Sookun said on the WhatsApp messages, “For many of the students, raising this alarm immediately was a tremendous experience.”
City of London Police Detective Constable Khadra Mallin told the inquiry officers were called by concerned members of the public who heard someone calling for help in the River Thames just after 8am on April 20, 2021.
A witness swam into the water to rescue him, but only his school jacket and bag, which contained a note, were found.
An “intense” search by police on foot, helicopters and lifeboats began, but his body was not found for eight days.
When police visited his school, a student said Zaheid boarded the #118 bus at its normal stop in Canada Water, but got off before arriving at the academy for the first day after the Easter break.
A toxicological report by Dr. Rebecca Andrews found no alcohol or drugs in his system and pathologist Dr. Simi George recorded his preliminary cause of death as going into hiding.
The Deputy Medical Examiner Dr. Julian Morris, who charted a conclusion on the suicide, offered his “very sincere” and “deepest” condolences to the family.
He added: “The difficulty for all of us, and especially for you, is perhaps not being able to understand his personal and private thoughts and reasons for why he did what he did.
“We may never know those reasons. I understand that from your point of view this must create ongoing fear and frustration.
“The age of 13 is too young for anyone.”
His father replied: “When he was born I didn’t think he would survive.
“The 13 years he gave us, thank God for that.”
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more stories like this, Visit our news page.
Get the top news, feel-good stories, analysis and more
https://metro.co.uk/2023/03/10/boy-13-jumped-from-tower-bridge-after-viewing-suicide-posts-online-18422886/ The 13-year-old boy jumped off Tower Bridge after seeing suicide posts online