Get involved! Send photos, video, news & views. Text WILTS TIMES to 80360 or email us
Open verdict into death of St Laurence School student
The inquest into the death of St Laurence student Harvey Johns has been concluded with an open verdict.
Harvey, 16, was found hanged in the summer house of his Batheaston home by his mother on the morning of October 2 last year.
Coroner Maria Voisin summed up the evidence heard at Flax Bourton Coroners Court, and said: “I am not sure if it was Harvey’s intention to take his own life.”
The statement of ID report stated there was evidence of self harm but the toxicology report was negative and no drugs or alcohol were detected.
No suicide note was found.
DS Marc Hathaway, investigation officer for the case, stated in his report at the inquest that Harvey had been lethargic for a few days before his death but his mother, Jenny Johns, thought it was a bug.
Mobile phone records showed that the afternoon before his death Harvey had been looking on various websites asking questions about nooses and knots.
His laptop was examined by experts and revealed he visited Experience Project website, for people to share and connect through life stories, quite regularly.
One discussion had the question ‘just one life, what would happen if it stopped?’ He accessed this website in the evening and early morning before his death.
Despite no suicide letter, a number of notes written by Harvey included his feelings of not being very happy and not fitting in, but said he would not do anything stupid. Another stated Harvey respected and cared for his mother.
DS Hathaway said: “Harvey abhorred alcohol, drugs and swearing. It is something he did not like in his life.”
The inquest heard that in mid 2009 Harvey ended up on a child protection plan under emotional abuse. He refused to engage with professionals and told his mother he did not need them.
DS Hathaway’s report noted that Harvey didn’t have many friends outside of school and he spent a lot of his time on his Xbox.
He would often watch the Hannibal and Saw films, sometimes up to four times a week, and on the eve of his death he was watching Hannibal Rising.
The inquest heard his mother had been aware of his self-harming, but never saw any cuts. However she had previously found a dressing gown cord and knife under his pillow.
She tried to speak to him about it and he said he would stop self harming.
Harvey left St Laurence School in the summer of 2012 and enrolled on a carpentry course in Bath.
He soon returned to St Laurence to lower sixth where he was said to be doing well and making progress.
Despite his parents separating in 2009, Harvey maintained a good relationship with his father, Iain Johns, seeing him most weekends and was best man at his wedding in September last year.
DS Hathaway’s report stated that Mr Johns saw his son as a well adjusted young man and didn’t see Harvey as being different, down or depressed.