Elliott Johnson inquest: Wisbech Tory activist said he had ‘failed at life’ before he died

Elliot Johnson, 21, who is believed to have taken his own life after alleged bullying within the Con

Elliot Johnson, 21, who is believed to have taken his own life after alleged bullying within the Conservative Party. Photo: PA Wire - Credit: PA

A young Tory activist from Wisbech who is believed to have taken his own life after alleged bullying told his parents he had 'failed in life' in a letter found after he died, an inquest heard.

Alison Johnson (left) and Ray Johnson, the parents of Conservative Party activist Elliott Johnson. P

Alison Johnson (left) and Ray Johnson, the parents of Conservative Party activist Elliott Johnson. Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Elliott Johnson was found dead on railway tracks in Sandy, Bedfordshire, on September 15 last year, just weeks after making allegations about his treatment within the Conservative Party.

The 21-year-old, who was the son of Wisbech Society chairman Ray Johnson and his wife, was formerly chairman of the North East Cambridgeshire Conservative Future group - the young Conservatives - before he went to study history at Nottingham University.

The inquest in Bedfordshire focused on how Elliott believed he was being bullied and on his being made redundant by pressure group Conservative Way Forward (CWF) after making the allegation.

In it he accused former activist Mark Clarke of bullying, following an altercation in a pub in central London during a friend's birthday party on August 12.

The inquest heard Elliott had claimed in a detailed account of the exchange that Mr Clarke had confronted him about the use of an image on an article on the CWF website.


You may also want to watch:


Mr Clarke, who led the Road Trip 2015 campaign for young activists in which Elliott was involved, had allegedly threatened to sue him for copyright infringement and had 'gone ballistic' in the pub, shouting and grabbing the younger man.

Elliott claimed Mr Clarke had threatened to 'destroy' his career in politics and journalism because of a caution the activist had received for tweeting results of European elections illegally.

Most Read

Mr Clarke allegedly told Elliott he had sued other people and always won, adding: 'I squash them like ants when they are small and young - this is what I'm going to do to you.'

Just weeks before Elliott died, the pair, along with lobby journalist Andre Walker, met in a pub in Tooting, which the young activist recorded and later sent to the chief executive at CWF, Paul Abbott.

The inquest heard Mr Clarke and Mr Walker had suggested Elliott should not pursue his complaint, although the activist told Mr Clarke he 'bloody well needed a kick up the arse' for his actions in the pub.

On September 7, Elliott met with a complaints investigator from Conservative central headquarters (CCHQ), who the inquest heard had been looking into other allegations against Mr Clarke.

At that meeting, Elliott said he was dropping the complaint, saying he would handle it personally.

A week later, on September 14, Elliott met with a fellow activist, who had also made a complaint against Mr Clarke, and discussed his situation.

Detective Chief Inspector Samuel Blackburn told the inquest Elliott had been 'upset' when he left that meeting and later searched for suicide methods.

On the morning of the day he died, he booked a train ticket online, travelled from Kings Cross to Sandy and walked about 1km away from the station before being struck by a train.

A toxicology report found he had 103 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood - just over the drink driving limit.

Police found three letters in the activist's flat in Tooting, south London, after he died.

In one addressed to his parents, Ray and Allison Johnson, Elliott said he felt he had failed at work and politics.

'Overall, I failed in life in spite of your help, for which I am very thankful.'

He went on to say: 'I have also been involved in a huge political issue. I have been bullied by Mark Clarke and betrayed by Andre Walker. I had to wrongly turn my back on my friends. Now all my political bridges are burnt. Where can I even go from here?'

In another, addressed to 'bullies and betrayers', he wrote: 'I could write a hate message but actions speak louder than words. I was never one for hate anyway but I think I this should be in your mind.'

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter