Investigators are searching for answers after a 14-year-old boy was killed by an oncoming train. Sam Connor, 14, of Ashford, Surrey in the UK, was at the Chertsey railway station with classmates when he suddenly slid off the platform and laid on the tracks. Authorities are trying to determine if the boy killed himself in front of approximately 50 classmates after being bullied or if it was a prank that went terribly wrong.
The incident occurred on July 15 around 4 p.m. Sam was with other students at the station waiting for the South Western Railway train to arrive. Classmates said Sam seemed to be in good spirits prior to his death.
Sam reportedly handed off his school bag, cell phone and a note to a classmate, then descended onto the tracks and lied down. Students on the platform began pleading with him to get off the tracks as the train approached.
Train Passengers Saw Students Screaming on the Platform
According to The Mirror, one passenger only identified as “Lewis” said he was on the train when it suddenly halted with only one car next to the platform.
He initially thought one of the children had accidentally dropped a cell phone onto the tracks. But then he saw the girls crying and the boys leaning down shouting Sam’s name. “That’s when we realized something was wrong,” Lewis recalled.
Another passenger who wished to remain anonymous heard the students shouting “He’s done it. He’s jumped.”
Lewis said a paramedic-in-training, who happened to be on the train, ran through the cars to exit. She jumped down on the tracks to provide first aid, but collapsed and began to sob when she saw Sam.
Sam’s Half-Sister Witnessed the Incident
Sam’s stepmother, Deborah Barrett, said one of her daughters witnessed her half-brother’s death. “It’s horrible. You can’t imagine, can you? I’d just spoken to my middle one and she said he just lay down on the tracks. He was a sensitive little soul, a cute little thing who was into gaming. He was funny and sarcastic with a great sense of humor.”
The students on the platform were taken from the station about 10 minutes after the incident. Passengers on the train were allowed off about thirty minutes later. The train station was closed for several hours as investigators scoured the scene.
Immediately after the incident, a local candy shop worker said hysterical children were coming into her store, which is just across from the station.
“It was so sad. Children are running around and crying and screaming. One young girl came in the shop in tears and was screaming “I’ve seen it all.” We looked out and saw the train on the platform and put two and two together. The kids on the platform didn’t know what to do.”
Sam May Have Been Bullied by Classmates
Detective Inspector Darren Gough, from the British Transport Police (BTP), said there is an “ongoing investigation” into Sam’s death.
Sam, who was described as fun-loving kid who enjoyed gaming and breakdancing, was a Year 9 student at the Salesian School, a Roman Catholic school in Chertsey, Surrey. The Sun reported that Connor was bullied online by trolls who were posting negative comments on social media. Some students recalled that Sam was ostracized at school and would sit alone during break time. The school said there was no formal report of him ever being bullied.
Barrett shared that Sam’s half-sisters were aware he was dealing with bullies. “This is so horrible for the family. They loved him, they were all quite close. My youngest daughter rang me on Monday and told me what had happened and says Sam had been bullied,” she revealed.
“My girls have said there was stuff said online about Sam. Lots of children are bullied but this must have been horrendous. If Sam was being bullied at school, then why weren’t the school doing anything?”
The note Sam gave to his classmate just before his death may offer investigators some insights into what happened. One of the teen’s relatives told The Mail Online, “There were just a couple of names and the code to his phone. He was a smart kid, you know. I think if anything went wrong he’s put it in his phone and said, there you go. He handed the phone over and the password and also a couple of names when he handed it to his friend. It doesn’t bear thinking about.”
Another source close to Sam’s friends told The Sun his death resulted from a prank that went “horribly, horribly wrong.”
“He was seen laughing and joking with his mates on the platform before what happened. His friends were with him at the time don’t believe that this was the outcome he necessarily wanted one tended to happen. A lot more will come out at the inquest I’m sure,” the anonymous source said.
There’s also speculation that Sam was concerned about school. Some of the students who knew him said he was bright but was worried about his final grades.
Sam Is Being Memorialized at the Train Station
Flowers and condolence notes being left at the train station in honor of Sam’s memory.
“So sorry life wasn’t kinder to you. Rest in Peace, Angel,” wrote one family.
“I think we may have got on, because once upon a time, I was you,” another mourner wrote.
Headteacher James Kibble wrote, “We are devastated to find out that, following an incident at Chertsey station one of their year nine students died. This is an incredibly difficult situation for everyone, but knowing the faith, compassion, and strength of our school community, I am confident that we will work together to support one another. We would ask that our community joins together to remember the student and their family in their prayers at this incredibly sad time.”
A school psychologist and counselors were on hand during the week to help students cope with the tragic death.
South Western Railway said they will also be providing “the appropriate support” to their employees.