Tragedy of Sheffield university student found hanged in city playground

NEWS: News.
NEWS: News.
Have your say

A University of Sheffield drop-out wrote ‘please don’t resuscitate me’ in ink on his arm before hanging himself in the children’s play area at Graves Park, an inquest heard.

Christopher Thomson, aged 21, had texted friend Jennifer Kirkham beforehand, saying: “It’s the only way out I can think of.”

Other texts revealed where he was and she took a taxi to the park only to find him hanged before calling the emergency services.

Another text message told Jennifer: “I wanted to talk to you before the end” and another said: “Please don’t feel responsible, it’s my own fault.”

She said he often had ‘down moods’ but had cheered up that evening and there was nothing she could think of to trigger his actions.

“He had spoken about different ways of doing it,” she told the Sheffield inquest. “He said if someone wanted to do it no-one should stop them, it was their right.”

The court heard Christopher had been suffering depression and had viewed websites on how to commit suicide.

He had lost contact with his family for a spell and was penniless and homeless, sleeping latterly at the Salvation Army hostel on Charter Row.

A week before his death he had been referred for psychiatric help after being sent to the Northern General Hospital by a walk-in centre doctor when he talked of killing himself.

Mental health nurse Victoria Spencer said: “He had a chronic low mood and had been looking at methods of suicide on the internet over the previous months.”

But despite his suicidal thoughts she believed he was not planning to kill himself.

He was found a place at the hostel and was seen by Jean Murphy of the city’s mental health team.

She interviewed him and thought he had no intention of harming himself and he talked about his depression which he had suffered for a long time but was not taking any medication.

She told the inquest: “There was nothing to indicate he was at immediate risk although he had been having suicidal thoughts.”

She asked him to sign on with a GP who could get him treatment and give him anti-depressants.

But just a few days later, after leaving Miss Kirkham and some friends who went on to a nightclub, former Sheffield University student Mr Thomson was found dead at the park.

Miss Kirkham said she got home in the early hours of July 20 last year to find Christopher’s diary and a piece of paper shoved through her door reading: “I’m sorry.”

Assistant deputy coroner Louise Slater recorded a verdict of suicide.

She told Christopher’s father Peter and his partner: “I am sorry for the loss of someone so young.”