Two teenagers were seen “happy and laughing” at school just hours before taking their own lives, an inquest heard today.
Hertswood pupils Charleigh Disbrey, 15, and Mert Karaoglan, 18, were killed by a moving train on the tracks just north of Elstree & Borehamwood Station, near Red Road, just before 9pm on June 17 last year. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.
Deputy coroner Graham Danbury concluded that the couple, who had been in an “intense” relationship for two months, had deliberately intended to commit suicide in order to stay together.
Harry Whitlock, 19, had been friends with Mert since they were 11, but had become closer to the keen photographer during their time at Hertswood Academy’s Sixth Form.
Giving his witness statement at the inquest today, he said that he had spent lunch at school with both Mert and Charleigh, known to her friends as CJ, that day and the couple seemed fine and were “happy and laughing”.
He added that he had received a photo message from the couple, via mobile app Snapchat, of the pair smiling together, which was completely normal for them to do.
The inquest also heard statements from a number of the couple’s friends that were taken at the time of their deaths, including Mert’s friend Christopher Walker who said Mert had told him he had met his “soul mate” in CJ.
The court also heard that Mert had told him he was going to send him his passwords, but did not explain why and said he would tell him later.
A number of the couple's friends received texts that evening to tell them they loved them and to say goodbye.
Family members and friends attended the inquest today, where five witnesses, including three mental health professionals, gave evidence.
Statements from mental health workers said Charleigh had been suffering from anxiety and depression for a number of months before the incident but none of them deemed her to be in any immediate danger.
Sgt Adrian Naylor of the British Transport Police also gave evidence, and said that two video recordings had been found, which gave some explanation of what they were about to do.
Sgt Naylor referred to Mert's Turkish background and added: "They referred to family and cultural problems and felt they weren’t going to be able to be together in this life."
The deputy coroner said: “In the last five or six weeks, these two came together and clearly were overwhelmed by their feelings for each other. Because of Mert’s background, it seems like a relationship would not have been approved of by the family.”
He concluded that the cause of death in both cases was due to multiple traumatic injuries, and reached a conclusion of death by suicide.