Inquest into Gainsborough schoolboy’s tragic suicide

Callum James was just 11-years-old when he took his own life
Callum James was just 11-years-old when he took his own life

A YOUNG Gainsborough schoolboy suffering with autism and ADHD hung himself in tragic circumstances, an inquest heard this morning (Thursday 22nd November).

Former Charles Baines Community Primary School pupil Callum Rhys James was just 11-years-old when he attempted to take his own life at his Woodfield Road home on 4th September 2011.

It was the day before he was due to start school at Trent Valley Academy. He died in Sheffield Children’s Hospital two days later.

The inquest at Lincoln Cathedral Centre heard that Callum had previously threatened to kill himself by jumping from a window.

A statement from Callum’s father Martin James said that his latter time at school “could only be described as traumatic” and said that the Team Around the Child (or TAC) system of support for Callum and the family was ‘not working’.

In a statement, one of Callum’s friends said: “I remember him talking about killing himself - this happened in Year 6 quite a lot.”

“I thought he was just cross and joking.”

Coroner Stuart Fisher said that it was ‘unacceptable’ that it took an ambulance over 30 minutes to arrive but said that this had no adverse effect on the outcome as LIVES First Responders were on the scene within minutes administering care.

Mr Fisher recorded a verdict of suicide, declaring it an “ultimately tragic death”.

He continued: “I have been a coroner for almost 20 years and a deputy coroner for 10 years before that.”

Offering his deepest sympathies to the family he added: “I can say that have no recollection of having dealt with the hanging of a child of only 11 years-old.”

He agreed that a more ‘holistic and integrated’ system of support should have been available to Callum and his family.

Chris Cook, chairman of Lincolnshire Safeguarding Children Board, said: “This tragic death was neither predictable nor preventable.

He continued: “The sad truth is that no-one saw this coming. Not his teachers, his psychologist, his behaviour support staff, his autism outreach workers, his doctors, his nurse, his family action workers nor his parents.”

Speaking to The Gainsborough Standard after his death last year, Callum’s father Martin said: “He filled our lives with joy and emotion.”

“He was all all-round energetic soul, and losing him was devastating, It feels like a part of us is missing and we’ll never get that back, but he will live on with us.”

Martin added: “He was a very loving little boy.”

- For the full story see next week’s Gainsborough Standard (available Thursday 29th November).