A gifted and popular young man who dreamt of studying at Oxford took his own life, a coroner ruled today (Thurs).
Nqobile Ngwenya, of Marsh, known as Billy, appeared outwardly to have everything to live for with a caring, loving family, plenty of friends and glowing reports by tutors of his academic performance.
But an inquest at Bradford Coroner’s Court heard the popular 17-year-old Greenhead College student, who was born in Zimbabwe, bottled up his emotions and suffered from feelings of anxiety in social situations.
A statement was read out by assistant coroner Peter Merchant from his mother Sibongi Moyo which said: “His ambition was to go to Oxford.”
She said she had no concerns about his mental health until an incident in 2016 when she received a call from a nurse at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary saying he was in A&E and had harmed himself.
She said: “I was in complete shock as I was not expecting anything like this. He said he didn’t know why he had these thoughts. I didn’t know how to deal with this situation. He was still maintaining his social life and I heard him laughing and joking with his friends.”
However there were further incidents of self-harm and on February 27, 2017, Billy was found hanged at his home.
Mrs Moyo, who attended the court with Billy’s older sister, explained what happened that morning.
She said: “At 7.30am I woke up, I was aware that Billy was already awake.”
She agreed to give him a lift to college and went out on a couple of errands.
When she returned home she found the bolts had been secured from the inside.
She said: “I rang his mobile with no answer. I rang a mental health practitioner who had been trying to help him. I was panicking and went to a neighbour’s for some ladders.
“He could see nothing. I called 999. I was numb. I could hear people shouting my son’s name. I was aware that he had hanged himself. Apparently he left a note saying he had had enough.
He was my perfect child. I miss him so much. I never expected to go through this.”
Despite the best efforts of police officers and paramedics they were unable to revive him and he was pronounced dead at 11.08am at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
Mr Merchant concluded that he intended to take his own life. He said: “He was an intelligent boy. he had made attempts at suicide in the past. The difference was that on previous occasions he had sought help.
He said: “What possessed him to do what he did that morning, we will never know.”
Noel Devine, lead serious incident investigator at South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, carried out an overview of its conduct and made recommendations for it to improve its service.
These included ensuring that when a psychiatrist is on long term absence from work there should be cover provided at meetings where their attendance is important.
In addition a formal process should be introduced which ensures patients are referred and seen by a psychiatrist within a satisfactory period for non-urgent reviews.
And a capacity and demand analysis of the psychiatrist’s workloads should be conducted.
Where to get help if you're struggling
You don't have to suffer in silence if you're struggling with your mental health. Here are some groups you can contact when you need help.
Samaritans: Phone 116 123, 24 hours a day, or email email@example.com, in confidence
Childline: Phone 0800 1111. Calls are free and won't show up on your bill
PAPYRUS: A voluntary organisation supporting suicidal teens and young adults. Phone 0800 068 4141
Depression Alliance: A charity for people with depression. No helpline but offers useful resources and links to other information
Students Against Depression: A website for students who are depressed, have low mood, or are suicidal. Click here to visit
Bullying UK: A website for both children and adults affected by bullying. Click here
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM): For young men who are feeling unhappy. Has a website and a helpline: 0800 58 58 58