Heartbroken mum of teen who killed himself after false rape allegation found hanged at family home

The family of grief-stricken Karin Cheshire, 55, said she ‘could not see a future’ without son Jay Cheshire, 17, who took his own life after being falsely accused of rape

The heartbroken mum of a teenager who took his own life after being falsely accused of rape was found hanged in her family home.

Jay Cheshire was found hanged after being accused of rape
Jay Cheshire was found hanged after being accused of rape

The family of grief-stricken Karin Cheshire, 55, said she ‘could not see a future’ without son Jay Cheshire, 17, who took his own life after allegations of rape were made against him.

The complaint was withdrawn after two weeks but were said to have deeply affected Jay.

Karin had vowed to investigate the police’s handling of the case but her family said she became ‘vacant’ and ‘zombie-like’ after his death.

The mum-of-two was found at her home in Southampton, Hampshire, on July 18 and an inquest into her death heard she had died in the same way as her son – asphyxiation as a result of hanging.

Karin was discovered by neighbours who became worried when they had not heard from her or seen her walk her beloved pet Shih Tzu.

Her brother Simon, said: “I now think Karin had been preparing for this, as we’ve been clearing out her house for the past three months.

“It came to the anniversary of Jay’s death and, sadly, although I almost expected her to do something, I’m shocked she actually took her life in the same fashion.

“She just couldn’t see a future without Jay.”

He said the whole family have not got over Jay’s death, who died at Southampton General Hospital, Hants, on July 5 last year two days after he was found hanging.

Karin spoke out after his death, revealing she had to make the heart-wrenching decision to switch off his life support.

Speaking last October, following Jay’s inquest at Winchester Crown Court, she said: “The rape allegation was the main reason he killed himself.

“She accused him of rape and said he was a sexual offender. He was absolutely distraught. Two weeks later she said she withdrew the allegations.

“He was a wonderful young man with a great love of history.

“I switched his life support off. If I have to think about it I will cry. It’s the worst thing a mum could have to do.”

After she fell into a deep depression, her brother said she turned down offers of family support, instead seeking support from others sharing a common grief.

Simon said he last saw his sister on July 1, shortly before the anniversary of Jay’s death, and described Karin as looking ‘vacant’ and ‘zombie-like’.

He added: “She used to be so different, she was just a really, really intelligent woman who probably could have written books – she even kept a diary for 40 years.

“But what happened to Jay just finished her off and she never recovered.

“The whole thing is just so tragic, and I do feel anger with the girl. I would really like to meet her and hear her side of the story.”

Jay was a sixth form student at Bitterne Park School in Southampton studying English Literature, Film Studies and Geography – and hoped to become a history teacher or a writer.

The inquest, held last year, heard he had a history of having a low mood, was put on anti-depressants and was due to undergo cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT).

When police arrived at the scene where he hanged himself, they found Jay had left a note.

Jay also left a note for his family and one in his sixth-form locker.

Central Hampshire senior coroner Grahame Short recorded a verdict of suicide and said he struggled to cope with the false accusations and the investigation.

He said: “He was a sensitive young man and vulnerable in some respects and he found it difficult to cope with the police investigation.”

Helplines and websites

Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at jo@samaritans.org.

Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.

PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.

Depression Alliance is a charity for people with depression. It doesn’t have a helpline, but offers a wide range of useful resources and links to other relevant information. http://www.depressionalliance.org/

Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts. Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying. http://studentsagainstdepression.org/

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