Troubled young man, 19, died on Sheffield train tracks after 'failure to pass on vital information'

-Credit: (Image: Google)
-Credit: (Image: Google)

A coroner has expressed concerns over the care of a struggling young man who took his own life aged just 19.

Jacob Lee Shorter died after he was hit by a train on New Year's Day on a train track at Heeley Loop in Sheffield.

A coroner, who concluded that he took his own life, has now raised concerns about the failure to pass on information to Jacob's foster carer about his suicidal ideas. Coroner Marilyn Whittle has compiled a Prevention of Future Deaths reports which she has passed to Calderdale Council in Halifax .

Read more: Heartbreaking text 'gentle and caring' mum sent to husband moments before smothering baby

Jacob was in long term foster care and, following his 18th birthday, he was under the 'pathways leaving care team' and was subject to an education, health and care plan and was still receiving support from William Henry Smith School, a special residential school in Brighouse for children with social, emotional and mental health challenges.

Jacob was seen by a 'pathways advisor' and had an independent visitor in place but in May and June 2023 concerns were expressed about his low mood and he was encouraged to visit his GP with his foster carer.

His foster carer contacted the local authority in September 2023 after Jacob had told her his feelings had gone downhill and she was not given any strategies to help him, according to the coroner.

The independent visitor discussed Jacob's wellbeing with him on December 3 2023 where he said he had felt suicidal in the past but did not currently feel this way, according to the coroner's report.

"This information was not passed on to his foster carer or to the pathways team. He was seen again on 31 December 2023 where he was reported to be doing well and no concerns were raised about his emotional wellbeing."

On New Year's Day, Jacob left home and mentioned about 'having choices' to his foster carer. He did not say where he was going and did not return home. Tragically, he had made his way onto the train tracks at Heeley Loop in Sheffield where he was struck by a train. He died from multiple injuries.

The coroner has now raised concerns with Calderdale Council, writing: "The matters of concern are as follows.

"Whilst the Independent Visitor was made aware of previous suicidal ideation this was not passed on to the foster carer or anyone else.

"Calderdale were unable to tell me of the training they receive or the escalation route for concerns or disclosures of this type. There is a clear risk that if this type of information is not passed on and adequate training is not provided in terms of metal health then this could cause future deaths."

She added: "In my opinion action should be taken to prevent future deaths and I believe you and your organisation have the power to take such action."

The coroner has asked Calderdale Council to respond to her report within 56 days and has asked for the response to contain details of action taken or proposed to be taken.

Yorkshire Live approached Calderdale Council for comment.

In a statement, Julie Jenkins, Calderdale Council’s Director of Children and Young People’s Services, said: "This was a tragic incident, and our thoughts and heartfelt condolences are with Jacob’s family and friends. We have been supporting Jacob’s family and foster carers at this difficult time.

"The Coroner requires us to respond to the ‘Prevention of future deaths report’ by 13 August 2024. We are considering the information from the Coroner’s hearing, about the circumstances of Jacob’s very sad death, and are unable to comment further at this time."

Get all the latest and breaking news in Yorkshire by signing up to our newsletter here.