A frantic mum phoned her sobbing teenage son moments before he was killed by train begging him to come home, an inquest heard.
Joshua Vaughan may have gone onto the tracks ‘on the spur of the moment’ when he was struck by a train at a Sheffield railway station – not intending to kill himself.
The 17-year-old’s on-off teenage girlfriend had contacted his mum Stacey Vaughan through Facebook shortly before the tragedy to say he was at Chapeltown station and threatening to ‘end it all’.
Mrs Vaughan called her son as soon as she received the message. She told the inquest: “I received a Facebook message. It said Joshua was at the train station and he was going to end it all.
“I telephoned him, he answered, Josh was crying.
“I told him to come home and to move himself away from the railway station.
“I told him I would come and get him. He told me not to come. I called the police.”
Mrs Vaughan, who wept throughout the hearing, said she was ‘shocked and devastated’ when she arrived at the station and discovered her son had died.
“We still find it very difficult to deal with the death of our son and feel that what has happened isn’t real,” she added.
Joshua, of Ironstone Crescent, Chapeltown, was having relationship problems at the time of his death.
But Assistant Coroner Louise Slater recorded a verdict that although Joshua died ‘as a result of injuries he sustained following a collision with a train’ she could not be sure he intended to die.
“It’s unclear whether he fully understood the consequences of his actions,” she said.
Ms Slater said Joshua was upset at the time and she suspected his actions were ‘spur of the moment’.
The inquest heard the former Ecclesfield Comprehensive School pupil had been ‘unhappy’ in the weeks before his death because of problems with his relationship. His mum said ‘he just did not seem to be himself’.
She said on one occasion when he was ‘upset’ he agreed to go to see their family GP.
His mum said the doctor did not prescribe medication because of his age and because she felt his low mood was due to relationship issues.
Mrs Vaughan said Joshua’s boss called her during the same period with concerns after her son started crying at work and showed him marks on his wrist.
She said Joshua, an apprentice with a Sheffield-based insurance firm, agreed to see a professional counsellor but died before any sessions could be held.
The train involved in the collision on January 7 was being driven by a learner, who applied the emergency brakes when Joshua was spotted on the tracks.
CCTV cameras captured Joshua on the platform moments before the collision but did not record him getting onto the tracks.
But Detective Constable Ian Grice, of British Transport Police, said: “All the evidence would indicate that there was nothing the driver could have done more – he acted as he should have done in applying the brakes.”
There was a massive outpouring of grief following Joshua’s death – with friends gathering at a shrine to remember the Sheffield Wednesday fan, who played for Chapeltown Juniors. They also organised a charity football match in his memory.