THE family of a ‘lovely boy who could make anyone laugh’ has paid tribute to the JCB Academy pupil after an inquest ruled he hanged himself in the school's toilets.
Samuel Fallows, of Churnet View, Oakamoor, died at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire at just 17 years old on May 10 following the incident at the Mill Street academy.
His inquest, held at Burton Town Hall yesterday (16), heard that Samuel was like any other teenager and had appeared to be his usual happy self on the morning of his death.
Detective Sergeant Karen Banner, of Staffordshire Police’s child protection unit, said Samuel had attended his math lesson as usual and was then seen to go to the toilet.
He was later discovered by the cleaner at around 10.30am when she went to check the toilet but found the door was stuck.
After finding the teenager, the maintenance engineer, along with principal Jim Wade and another member of staff, attempted to resuscitate him until the first responder and then the ambulance service arrived.
Despite their best efforts, Samuel was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at hospital.
Det Sgt Banner told the inquest that Samuel gave no indication to his friends or family of his intentions.
He had been arguing with his girlfriend Jaz the evening before, however it was ‘quite a frequent occurrence’ for the couple and the situation had calmed down before his death.
The police investigation also found that Samuel had contacted a teacher at Cheadle High School, where he attended before moving to JCB Academy, expressing concerns about his alcohol consumption.
However, his father Mark had a discussion with the teenager who said he had stopped drinking as he wanted to learn to drive.
Samuel was also doing well in his studies at the JCB Academy and had hoped to go on to do a business apprenticeship.
Det Sgt Banner added that Samuel was healthy, happy and enthusiastic and enjoyed sport and helping on the farm. He also got on well with his twin sister and younger brother.
South Staffordshire coroner Andrew Haigh said Sam had no psychiatric or self-harm history and a toxicology report found no alcohol in his system.
He said: “Sam killed himself and it is likely he intended to kill himself but I cannot be sure.
“He locked himself in the toilet and carefully prepared but there was no farewell note or message confirming his intention.
“It is likely it was a cry for help but it is less likely rather than more likely.”
Mr Haigh ruled he died of cerebral anoxia due to hanging and reached a formal conclusion that he hanged himself.
He added: “I hope this has been of some assistance to you and may help you find some form of closure. I would like to convey my sincere condolences to you for the circumstance of his death.
“No-one expected him to do this.”
Following the inquest, Sam’s family paid tribute to the teenager.
They said: “Sam was a very loving boy, not afraid to show it and could make anyone laugh.
“He was a much-loved member of our family who will be sorely missed by everyone he knew.”