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« Parents of Adolf Hitler to be Evicted | Main | Sexting Teens face Child Porn Charges »

Encouraged by Crowd Teen Commits Suicide

Shaun Dykes 2Westfield Shopping CenterShaun Dykes

Shaun Dykes, 17, from Kilburn, Derbyshire in Britain was a troubled, gay teen who had just recently broken up with his boyfriend, 18-year-old David Challands with whom he was living. His life ended on Saturday, 27 September 2008. He commited suicide by jumping 60 ft to his death from the top of a multi-story car park at the Westfield Shopping Center in Derby city. See a TV report of the incident here.

Police negotiators, who spent over two hours trying to dissuade 17-year-old Shaun Dykes from jumping from the roof said their work was made much more difficult by heckling from the crowd which had gathered on London Road below. According to witnesses, as the negotiators were trying to convince Shaun to come away from the edge of the roof, people in the crowd below were taunting the teen with shouts of: "How far can you bounce?", "Go on, jump", "Get on with it" , "Stop wasting time" and "You're wasting tax-payers' money."

At the inquest, on Thursday, January 15, 2009, Louise Pinder, deputy assistant coroner for Derby Coroner's Court, said she thought it was a "great shame" the people goading Shaun had not been identified and brought to justice.
"I find it incomprehensible that while two police negotiators were talking with such sensitivity and taking such care with Shaun that those members of the public below were acting so insensitively and with no apparent concern for a fellow human being."

She returned a verdict that Shaun Dykes, of Elm Tree Avenue, took his own life, saying it was "abundantly clear" there were a number of factors leading to his death. The coroner said: "Those individuals who taunted Shaun are responsible, at least in part, for his death."

Inspector Barry Thacker, one of the negotiators gave this account of what was happening just moments before Shaun jumped to his death:
"Hand on heart, I felt we made some progress towards the end. He asked us to stop talking because we were giving him too many options, and I could see in his eyes that he was weighing up the positive things in his life. I took that as a positive sign.

"But when he heard the shouts he would disengage from us, look at the people on London Road, close his eyes and start counting down from 10 - obviously a sign he was preparing to jump. That happened on three or four occasions, but we managed to get him back."

Seconds before he died he reached for Insp Thacker's hand to help him down, but was distracted by shouts of: "You're wasting tax-payers' money." The inspector said he then turned again, closed his eyes and jumped.

After Shaun Dykes jumped to his death, in what can only be described as gruesome and sickening, some of the spectators in the crowd who had been goading the disturbed young man to jump, broke through the police cordon to take pictures of the dead teen, using their cellphones.

Commenting on the behavior of the crowd, Superintendent Andy Hough, of Derbyshire police, said he was disturbed and disappointed by what had happened:
People were at the police cordon shouting for the man to jump,' Superintendent Hough said. 'I find it a disturbing and shocking reflection on society when people feel inclined to do that. Negotiators were working with the man threatening to jump and it was their job to talk to him in the hope of changing his mind. We really need the public to work with us, not against us. It was a very disappointing situation.'

Shaun Dykes 3Shaun Dykes 4Shaun Dykes 5

Just days before his suicide, Shaun had broken up with his boyfriend, David Challands, 18, of Avis Avenue, Marlpool. Shaun was suffering from depression and had twice before tried to take his own life. David said of his former boyfriend:
"I knew he was unstable half-way through our relationship. He would tell me about feeling depressed, he thought nobody cared about him. Daily, I had to reassure him that everyone was there for him. He said if I left him he would kill himself, and I knew that he would, so I felt like I had to stay with him." He added that he ended the relationship as he "really just couldn't do it anymore".

Shaun was a student at Heanor Gate Science College in Heanor, Derbyshire. Earlier Shaun's mother Tina told the inquest her son felt under pressure because his GCSEs were approaching. His headteacher Rob Howard said: “One or two students were standing near people goading him to jump.
“One student told me he could not believe people place such little value on life. It’s almost like they are in a television show. The sad thing is that a couple of the students, if they could have got close enough, felt that they could have made a difference.”

Lindsey Reid, 17, Shaun’s best friend since he was four, said: “He was the joker, always smiling. He’s not the sort of person you’d expect to do this.”

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Reader Comments (4)

This is just another reason to say the majority of humanity SUCKS. How very sad that these kids would encourage a depressed teen to jump to his death!!

I am glad I found your blog, I find it very interesting. I am going to add you to my blogroll! :-)

January 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterV

Hey V,
Thanks for the blogroll add. I checked out your blog and it is POWERFUL. Try to keep your spirits up. I hope each and everyone of my readers will take a look Here's wishing you all the best!!

Shaun Dawson

January 17, 2009 | Unregistered Commentershadmia

Thanks, Shaun!! I hope to see you around my blog! I appreciate the things you said...Keep up the awesomeness, I will certainly keep reading!

January 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterV

Every time I see Shaun, I feel I am looking at myself. Shaun
and I look exactly alike. Our minds seem to think the same
way. I feel the same thing that happened to Shaun will eventually
happen to me.

May 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJan

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