FENLAND: Inquest hears of the last moments in the life of a 'Very special' cheeky chappie
PUBLISHED: 17:20 23 July 2009 | UPDATED: 09:11 02 June 2010
By Tom Jackson POPULAR March teenager Jake Gillen hanged himself hours after talking about the deaths of two friends in a car crash, his inquest heard today. Seventeen-year-old Jake, whose funeral was attended by 300 of his friends, was found on the morni
By Tom Jackson
POPULAR March teenager Jake Gillen hanged himself hours after talking about the deaths of two friends in a car crash, his inquest heard today.
Seventeen-year-old Jake, whose funeral was attended by 300 of his friends, was found on the morning of January 24, by his grandfather Robert at his home in Gaul Road.
His GP, Dr Liz Mather, told the inquest: "Jake was a very likeable young man who, in my opinion, served the town and people with great passion.
"He supported projects run by Young People March and was very popular with staff.
"His death is an enormous tragedy, particularly because he did not express any depressive thoughts."
The inquest at Wisbech Courthouse heard that he had been drinking in the Hammer and Anvil pub the night before, where he talked about the deaths of Claire Stubberfield and Robert Hostler in a car crash in December 2007.
Coroner William Morris recorded a verdict that Jake killed himself.
"This is a very sad case," he said. "It is always extremely sad when a young person dies."
Members of Jake's family - including mum Kat, of March, and dad Fran Smith, who now lives in King's Lynn - attended.
His friend, Christopher Hiscock, described Jake as a "happy go lucky kind of guy". He was with Jake in the pub the night before his death.
"We had a few drinks, played some pool, and Jake seemed fine," he said. "He didn't seem depressed at that time.
"We were in the pool room most of the evening, and then I realised Jake was not here any more. I went back to where our main group of friends were in the front of the pub expecting he might be there - but he wasn't.
"I thought it was a little unusual, he would normally say bye."
Mr Hiscock added that Jake's mum Kat was in the pub at the same time, but was also unaware Jake had gone.
Jake was living at his grandfather's house for a short period, to look after him after he came out of hospital.
Mr Gillen said in a statement that Jake was "laughing and joking around" the day before his death. Earlier Jake spoke about trying to join the Army again.
"I had given him a key to the property so he could come and go when he liked," Mr Gillen said. "I never asked him where he was going or who he was seeing.
"At 7pm on January 23 he said he was going out with friends. I said if you're going out watch yourself while going through town. He laughed and said he would be ok."
Mr Gillen went to bed at 10pm, and woke at 6.50am the following day. When he went to the bathroom, he saw what was described as a "dummy" hanging from the doorway of Jake's room.
He continued: "I said 'stop messing around at this time of the morning'. But when I came out a couple of minutes later I looked closer and realised it was not a dummy - and realised it was Jake."
Pc Richard Musgrave, who attended Mr Gillen's house, said Jake was depressed about the deaths of Claire and Robert. They died in a two-car crash along the A47 near Wisbech.
A post mortem, carried out at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, found no trace of drugs but found 136mg of alcohol to 100ml of blood (the drink-driving limit is 80mg of alcohol to 100ml).
Following his death, friends put together an extraordinary compilation of photographs of Jake displaying his sociable and easy going manner. The photos captured his amazing talent to entertain other young people, and his commitment to events staged at YPM.
Jane Manders, joint leader of YMP, said: "He was a cheeky chappie, very special."
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