Death-leap teenager had made grade for university

Jack Clarke
Jack Clarke
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A BRIGHT student who jumped to his death after worrying about his exam results was unaware he had actually secured the grades he needed to go to university.

Jack Connor Clarke, 18, leapt from the top floor of a multi-storey car park just days before his A-Level results were released in August this year after confiding to Facebook friends that he couldn’t face the shame of exam failure.

But an inquest in Wakefield heard how the teenager’s fears he would not get the university place he dreamed of were unfounded.

Two weeks after Mr Clarke’s death his exam results were revealed and the bright teenager would have earned the place he wanted studying philosophy at Manchester University.

Mr Clarke, a talented musician, of Horbury, Wakefield, had scored an A in English, a B in history and a C in biology.

An inquest at Wakefield Coroner’s Court heard how a witness saw Mr Clarke throw himself off the car park roof in Wakefield.

Mr Clarke, who was a bass player with rock band Astro Circus and had just finished recording an album, suffered fatal trauma injuries in the incident just before 11am on August 2.

The hearing was told that when police studied Mr Clarke’s conversations on social networking site Facebook, they discovered one entry on June 6 where he told a friend: “If I don’t get in to university, I’m jumping off the Ridings car park roof.”

Det Sgt Steven France, of Wakefield CID, said: “I think the young lady he was talking to rather made a joke of that.

“I don’t think she was taking him seriously at all. He made a remark that he couldn’t handle the shame of not getting in.”

Recording a verdict of suicide, West Yorkshire Coroner, David Hinchliff told the hearing: “It occurs to me that probably Jack had just reached this point where he had finished his exams and the results are pending.

“It looks as though he was having feelings of self-doubt about the results and how devastating it would be if he didn’t get on the course of his choice.”

Mr Hinchliff added: “His exams were troubling him quite unnecessarily.

“We all think young people have an easy time, but it’s not a easy time.

“They have to make decisions that can fashion and shape what goes on for the rest of their life.”

Fighting back tears after the hearing, Mr Clarke’s father Robert, 54, said: “He was quite confident he had got the grades he wanted. There was no sign at all, he was upbeat.”

An earlier hearing, when the inquest was opened, was told the teenager had sent a text to his friend in the hours leading up to his death.

Coroner’s Officer Jayne Melrose said: “Jack had headed into Wakefield city centre that morning alone. He sent his friend a text message suggesting that they should meet up.”

He was seen on several CCTV cameras as he made his way through the city.

However the hearing was told Mr Clarke never actually met up with his friend.

joanne.ginley@ypn.co.uk