A schoolboy was “egged on” to take his own life by his friends, an inquest has heard.
Lucas Webb, 16, was reported missing by his parents after he failed to return home from a bicycle ride on December 12.
The Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys pupil was later found dead in woodland near Canterbury the next day, Kent Live reports.
In a heartbreaking opening statement, his mum Alison said: “We are here today to talk about our son and to make decisions about what he did and the cause of his death.
“We will be talking about him even though you do not know him, in fact, none of you knew him.”
She went on to explain how her son was a “bright academic” and had just received near-perfect GCSE results.
Lucas was described as a “grafter” and had already set up his own software company named Substandard Studios with a pal.
At the end of her opening statement, Lucas’ mum revealed that she still reads a note he once wrote for her, which said: “Mum I love you so much I don’t know what I would do without you.”
A post-mortem examination revealed he had died from asphyxiation, Kent Online reports.
Concerns were first raised on November 16 last year when a group of five students left the school site.
A-level students typically have more freedom to leave the school site, but one pupil raised the alarm about a classmate potentially going to harm themselves.
Assistant headteacher and deputy safeguarding lead Matthew Tithecott told the coroner what the pupil had told him.
He said: “I was told that one of the students had made a number of posts on social media saying he was going to jump off a cliff.
“The friend thought it could have been a joke but wanted to raise it with teachers and treat it seriously.”
Five students left the site, including Lucas.
After notifying headteacher Kenneth Moffat, Mr Tithecott got on his bike in an attempt to find the students who left the school grounds.
They were found on their back to school and said they were “on a walk”.
The pupil who made the social media posts were called to a meeting with Mr Tithecott, which Lucas also attended.
The students were described as appearing as “jovial” in the meeting saying that it was just a joke, and a report was filed on the school’s safeguarding platform.
No further action was taken by the school at this time.
One of the students within the friendship group later revealed Lucas had spoken about suicide and even suggested he would “kill himself faster” if his parents were told about the plans.
Police were able to obtain Lucas’ chats on his phone after his death and a number of messages were exchanged over the social media platform Discord, where he discussed his unhappiness and talked about ending his life.
A report from Detective Sergeant Anthony Welch of Kent Police revealed that Lucas was already deceased when emergency services arrived at the scene.
DS Anthony Welch said screenshots of messages he had seen from the group indicated Lucas was unhappy and had “intent and a plan” to take his own life.
He also displayed an in-depth knowledge of various suicide methods and told friends not to mention his plan.
D.S. Welch said at the hearing in Maidstone: “A group of people had been discussing suicide and there had been egging on from friends.”
In a self-portrait task which the students filled out on their return to the school, he wrote lockdown had led him to have “a negative mental wellbeing”.
Other pupils who had said they felt the same way were reminded of the support available to them.
No Regulation 28 report was issued by Coroner Joanne Andrews, as there were no ongoing circumstances at the school creating a risk of future deaths.
In a concluding statement, the coroner said: “I would like to start by saying how grateful I am for Mrs Webb’s statement.
“What happened was understandably a terrible, terrible shock for the family, I can only offer my personal condolences at this time.
“My conclusion is that Lucas died by suicide and that he took the actions he did that day with the intention of ending his life.”
If you’re struggling and need to talk, the Samaritans operate a free helpline open 24/7 on 116 123. Alternatively, you can email
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their site to find your local branch