A TEENAGE boy took his own life by jumping from Tower Bridge after viewing and posting material about suicide online, an inquest has heard.

Zaheid Ali, 13, committed suicide by leaping into the Thames after getting off a bus early on the way to school on April 20 2021.

Zaheid Ali took his own life in April 2021


Zaheid Ali took his own life in April 2021Credit: PA
He had previously viewed and posted material about suicide online


He had previously viewed and posted material about suicide onlineCredit: PA

His body was recovered from the river near a pub in Wapping, East London eight days later.

Inner South London Coroners Court heard that he had followed a social media user in the US who had also killed themselves, tweeted about his desire to do the same and even posted a “countdown” to his own suicide.

The note he left also contained lyrics from a Japanese song that tells the story of a 14-year-old girl taking her own life.

A WhatsApp exchange with school friends in March 2021, discovered after he died, revealed that he said: “I hate life at the moment and kind of want to give up.”

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Zaheid’s father, Mumen, told the hearing that he was “baffled” by his son’s actions and that his behaviour had seemed normal in the run-up to his death.

He had been concerned that Zaheid had become “glued to his phone” and “stuck in his bedroom” but explained: “We put it down to his hormones changing from being a boy to being a man.”

The devastated dad added that he believed his son was worried about Islamophobia after the 2019 mosque shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand that killed 51 people.

Una Sookun, vice-principal of the Ark Globe Academy in Elephant and Castle, south London, where Zaheid was a Year 8 pupil, told the court he was “academically very able” but “quiet” with a “very small friendship group”.

Ms Sookun did, though, report that he struggled to engage with school after lockdown began.

Despite being one of a small group allowed to attend in person, she said that he did not come in initially as he was concerned with catching coronavirus on the bus.

Zaheid suffered from internal malabsorption, a digestive disorder which left his immune system compromised.

Concern was raised about him in September 2020, when he posted religious messages in a school chat forum, and again two months later when his posts “called for people to die” and expressed his wish that he had never been born.

In January 2021 he had also emailed his tutor saying that he was struggling to wake up at 8am each day.

Ms Sookun said that the tragedy has been “a massive learning for many of the students about raising that alarm straight away.”

A toxicology report found that Zaheid had no alcohol or drugs in his system at the time of his death, while a post-mortem recorded a provisional cause of death as immersion.

Coroner Dr Julian Morris returned a verdict of suicide and offered his “very sincere” and “deepest” condolences to the family.

He added: “The difficulty for all of us, and especially for you, is not being able perhaps to understand his personal and private thoughts and reasons as to why he did what he did.

“We may never know those reasons. That must, I understand, provide ongoing anxiety and frustration from your perspective.

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“The age of 13 is too young for anybody.”

Mumen Ali replied that when Zaheid was born prematurely, he did not think he would survive, and thanked God for the 13 years “he gave us”.

You’re Not Alone

EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.

It doesn’t discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.

It’s the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.

And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.

Yet it’s rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.

That is why UK Times launched the You’re Not Alone campaign.

The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.

Let’s all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You’re Not Alone.

If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:


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