Inquest: Teenager committed suicide by jumping into River Thames

Zaheid Ali, 13. Family handout.

An inquest in south London has concluded that a 13 year old boy killed himself by jumping into the River Thames after posting material about suicide online.

Inner South London Coroners Court heard that Zaheid Ali jumped from Tower Bridge after getting off a bus early on the way to school on April 20, 2021.

His body was pulled from the River Thames in Wapping, east London, eight days later.

The court heard that his suicide note contained lyrics from a song about a girl who killed herself. He had also followed someone in the United States who had taken their own life, posted a “countdown” to his suicide on YouTube, and written on Twitter about his desire to kill himself.

A WhatsApp exchange with school friends also revealed he said: “I hate life at the moment and kind of want to give up.”

His father Mumen Ali told the hearing he was “baffled” by what had happened to his son as his behaviour had appeared normal, although he had become “glued to his phone” and “stuck in his bedroom” before he killed himself.

Det Con Khadra Mallin from City of London Police told the inquest that officers were called after people heard someone calling for help in the Thames just after 8am.

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One witness swam into the water but only Zaheid’s school jacket and bag, which contained a suicide note, were found.

An intensive search by police on foot, helicopters and lifeboats began but his body was not found for eight days.

Recording a conclusion of suicide, assistant coroner Dr Julian Morris offered his “very sincere” and “deepest” condolences to the family. “The age of 13 is too young for anybody,” he added.

His father replied: “When he was born, I didn’t think he was going to survive. The 13 years that he gave us, thank God for that.”

If you are a young person experiencing thoughts of suicide you can contact the Muslim Youth Helpline for non-judgemental, confidential support.

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