Gifted schoolboy, 16, jumped off Oldham motorway bridge after suffering exam stress

A gifted schoolboy jumped 30 feet to his death off an Oldham motorway bridge after he suffered severe bouts of stress and anxiety over his forthcoming GCSE exams.

Mohammed Abdul Razzak, 16, warned his GP he had planned six times to commit suicide in the weeks leading up to his death.

The teenager was found on a slip road at Junction 22 of the M60 motorway near Oldham, Greater Manchester by police on January 6.

He had suffered fatal multiple injuries and was rushed to hospital but later died.

At an inquest, Mohammed’s family wept as the hearing was told how he was an intelligent and well respected pupil at the 767 pupil Oldham Academy North.

In a statement read at the Heywood hearing, Mohammed’s mother Lufta Begum said: “He was a healthy child, a hard working studious young man with a very clever demeanour.

“He was a young man who kept himself to himself and had very good predictions in terms of his academic achievements.

“But he did not discuss anything with the family or those close to him. I was not sure if he spoke to friends or teachers about his problems.”

He was elected as a vice student principal on the school council and staff described him as hard working and talented and he was expected to do well in his exams.

But after starting his Year 11 GCSE exams, Mohammed began to appear withdrawn and anxious, and would disappear from home at night.

His mother also noticed he spent a great deal of time at his computer whilst drinking copious amounts of energy drink and coffee.

Last autumn he went missing from his home in Royton but turned up at his aunt’s house at 11pm.

On another occasion he was reported missing after leaving his house at 1am and not answering his phone only to return two hours later.

Eventually he missed a mock exam and subsequently a letter Mohammed wrote was later handed to his English teacher which referred to his days in primary school, the ‘loss’ of his siblings and how he felt and talked of self-harm.

Mr Moinul Islam, Assistant Head of Year 11 at Oldham Academy North, said: “It is not until I started working with Year 11 that Mohammed came to my attention.

“The very first time I had contact with him was when he missed an exam. I went to his house and picked him up. He came back with me but what stood out was that no matter how I asked a question he stayed mute.”

“He was a hard working scholarly man with usually near 100% attendance but he was stressing over his exams. He was suffering from anxiety.”

“Some life events had caused him unhappiness. He had had a little brother who was only around for a few days. He was really attached to him and I think he really suffered that loss.”

Talking about the teenager’s appointment as vice student principal, Mr Islam added: “He deserved that position because he was so good.

“He was a hard working young man who had taken all these steps and he was successful and there were signs he was looking forward and being positive despite some difficulties.”

After the letter was handed in, child protection services and his school intervened and Mohammed spent a weekend in a hospital where he was assessed by psychiatrists.

Dr Debra Bradley, Consultant in Clinical Psychiatry for Pennine Care Trust, said: “He felt angry that he had been brought into school when he was tired and he didn’t want to do the exam and said he wanted to end his life out of frustration.”

He was assessed by medical professionals over the weekend but they decided he was fit to go home.

Social services spoke to Mohammed but struggled to get any response from the teenager who refused to open up and he was referred to a counsellor.

In the weeks before the tragedy the school authorised Mohammed to travel to Bangladesh during term time and after his return he appeared happy.

But four days before his death, Mohammed spoke to his GP about the self-harm letter and confided he had planned to commit suicide six times in the past – but insisted he was only talking about it to test other people’s reactions.

The day before his death, he had stayed in bed late, was served food in his room and was only seen by his mother when he left his room for a shower at 11pm and returned to go to sleep.

In the next few hours Mohammed sent a text message to a friend stating his intention to take his own life and his mother was notified of the tragic event at 4am the next morning.

Tests on the bridge showed scuff marks on the bridge barrier indicating he had climbed over the protective railing.

Recording a verdict of suicide, Rochdale assistant coroner Lisa Hashmi said: “Mohammed was a fit and healthy intelligent young man who quite clearly had a very promising future.

“He was making significant progress and save his obvious intellect he was a quiet and reserved individual.

“But in the autumn of 2013 when he started Year 11 his mother noticed a change in his demeanour and concerns were quite rightly raised about this remarkable change.

“Mohammed’s family, school and other caring professionals subsequently became involved in supporting him. He was described by those trying to help him as guarded and came across as an individual reluctant to share information about himself.”

“The family have shown great dignity in extremely difficult circumstances.”

In a statement Oldham Academy North principal Colette Burgess said Mohammed had an ‘exemplary’ behaviour record and added: “Everyone is extremely saddened by the news of his death. He was an intelligent hard working and talented student.

“He had a particular gift for computing and other students often sought his advice because his expertise was well known and he was happy to help.”

“He was a popular and mature young man, highly regarded by his teachers and well-respected by his peers.”

Story via Cavendish Press

Image via Google Maps, with thanks

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