A girl who claimed she and her twin brother were assaulted took birth four months after her sibling, an inquest has heard
A teenage girl who claimed that she and a twin sister had both been sexually assaulted ended her life just four months after her sibling took a fatal drug overdose, an inquest found.
Chris Gould, 17, was hit by a train at a level crossing on January 26, 2019 – just four months after losing her twin brother Sam, 16, to a drug overdose in September 2018.
Both siblings had had serious mental health problems, which in the previously heard study were directly linked to allegations of sexual abuse throughout their childhood and into their teens.
The inquest, in Huntingdon Town Hall, Cambridgeshire, heard that both Chris and Sam felt ‘invalid’ after learning in December 2016 that their alleged abuser would not be prosecuted.
Chris’s inquest learned how she had made multiple suicide attempts and drew up a number of “ suicide notes, ” from May 2016 until her death in January 2019.
And coroner Nicholas Moss said Chris ‘death was’ reinforced ‘by the loss of her sister – with Chris saying the day after Sam died,’ I had to be the one who died first, she would try to get involved. ‘
As he completed the inquest today, Mr. Moss noted a narrative conclusion in which he stated that Chris had died by suicide after sustaining multiple traumatic blunt force injuries.
Chris Gould, 17, (right) and her sibling Sam, (left) from Fulbourn, Cambridgeshire, ended their lives within four months of each other, Chris’ inquest heard
The coroner learned how the siblings suffered psychological problems after being sexually assaulted. The couple felt left ‘invalid’ after no one was prosecuted for their allegations of abuse
The inquest revealed that Chris was an ‘informal’ patient at the Darwin Unit for Young People in Cambridge at the time of her death.
Mr Moss said that after her sister’s death, the Darwin created a ‘tailor-made’ arrangement for Chris so that she could choose when and how much to approach the unit for support.
And the inquest heard that Chris had spent her last hours on the unit – before taking “ impulsive ” off an unaccompanied cigarette break to get to the train tracks.
Mr. Moss took his conclusion and said, “It is unlikely that Chris had a determined plan to harm himself that night.
“She probably acted impulsively by being let out for a cigarette break when she wasn’t expecting to get one.”
The inquest had previously learned that as part of her “tailor-made” plan at Darwin, Chris was allowed to take a smoking break outside the unit’s premises unaccompanied until 8:30 PM.
Coroner Nicholas Moss said Chris’ death was’ amplified ‘by the loss of her sister – with Chris declaring the day after Sam died,’ I had to be the one who died first, she would try to join me ‘
On the day of her death, she had asked the responsible nurse to take a smoke break, but he had suggested that she stay in the Darwin’s courtyard.
However, due to a “miscommunication” between the nurse and a care assistant, Chris was left outside the premises for a cigarette – and told the care assistant she would be back in 15 minutes.
The inquest heard that Chris then drove to the railroad tracks – where she was hit by a train near the Cherry Hinton level crossing about an hour later.
Mr. Moss said, ‘I conclude that Chris died of suicide – by standing in front of that train, Chris took an action to end her life.
‘It is very difficult to know what caused this. After Sam’s death, Chris’s risk of suicide was consistently high and difficult to estimate.
“Her impulsivity made her risk difficult to estimate on any given day.”
Mr Moss commended Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) for their ‘dedication and flexibility’ in making arrangements to support and care for Chris.
But he also noted “shortcomings” in the lack of directness in the actions taken after Chris disappeared from the ward on the day of her death.
The coroner praised the twins’ parents for their role in the judicial investigations of their daughters, which were held at Huntingdon Town Hall (photo, stock image)
He pointed out in particular the lack of communication between the Darwin unit and the British Transport Police – who had previously prepared a suicide prevention plan for Chris, who had previously been spotted on the railway lines.
Mr. Moss said, “Chris should not have left the unit as she was that night. She took advantage of the situation impulsively.
If Network Rail had been notified that night and if the trains had been delayed, Network Rail policy would have left Chris not stepping in front of the train, or she could have sustained survivable injuries.
“I can’t figure out it’s more likely than not that slowing down the trains would have prevented Chris’s death – but there’s a clear possibility it could have.”
Mr. Moss finally thanked Chris and Sam’s parents, Jane Cannon and Ian Gould, for their roles in each of their daughter studies.
He said, “Mr. Gould and Mrs. Cannon have made it clear in every judicial investigation how very proud they are of Chris and Sam – proud of their good qualities and what they have overcome in the face of adversity.
“I’m sure Chris and Sam would be just as proud of their parents today, and especially proud of how they fought for future learning opportunities.”
For confidential support, call the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit Samaritans.org.