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Well liked young man was found dead by school friend, inquest hears

PUBLISHED: 18:13 25 November 2019 | UPDATED: 10:57 26 November 2019

Wymondham man Tom Gray was last seen in Norwich city centre. Picture: Norfolk Police

Wymondham man Tom Gray was last seen in Norwich city centre. Picture: Norfolk Police

Norfolk Police

A young man who took his own life was found by a childhood friend in the park they visited as children, an inquest has heard.

Tom Gray, 20, of Papillion Road in Wymondham, went missing on Thursday, September 19, prompting widespread concern from his friends on social media.

The following day one of these friends, who was alerted to the fact Mr Gray was missing, ventured out to look for him - despite having not spoken to him in around seven years.

The Norwich inquest heard the man, who we are not naming, was a high school friend of Mr Gray, but the pair had lost touch.

On the afternoon of Thursday, September 20, he alerted police after discovering the body of Mr Gray in the wooded area of Kett's Park, the same place they would gather after school, along with a rucksack belonging to him.

The inquest heard how Mr Gray, who was in his second year of studying a degree in public sector leadership at City College, was planning for the future and had aspirations of working for the military's bomb disposal unit.

In written evidence another friend, Cameron Preston, said he had met Mr Gray for lunch on the day he went missing, where he spoke about his plans for the future.

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He said: "I had known Tom since 2017 and we were both students at City College. He had told me he wanted to talk so we met for lunch and he sounded upset.

"He talked to me about wanting to work in bomb disposal and as a retained firefighter."

However, depression, anxiety and worry over an upcoming court case led to him taking his own life.

In evidence read out by area coroner Yvonne Blake, Helen Richardson-Hulme, assistant principal for student services at City College, said: "Tom was getting on well and was on track for a 2:1 degree. He was well liked on his course."

Ms Blake said the friend who ventured out to look for Mr Gray had done "a very kind thing".

She recorded a verdict of suicide.

■ Do you need to talk? The free Samaritans helpline can be accessed by calling 116 123 from anywhere in the UK.

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