Jasper de Pelet died after crashing with HGV, inquest hears
A ‘gifted’ teenager died after crashing with a HGV, an inquest heard. Jasper de Pelet’s car veered into an oncoming lorry on the A303s junction with the A350 in Wiltshire, the hearing heard. Seconds before the crash the 18-year-old, who was on a gap year, sent his mum a heartbreaking text saying ‘I’m sorry’.
In journals found after his death he wrote about his depression and anxiety saying ‘even when I am at my happiest sadness can crush me at any time’. Jasper was driving his Volkswagen Golf when it collided with the DAF articulated heavy goods vehicle, which was travelling in the opposite direction. An inquest at Salisbury Coroners Court heard the brakes were not applied at any time as he drove across the hatched central reservation.
In a statement read to the court, his mother Rebecca de Pelet said: “Jasper had a creative flair, he loved writing, performing… “He went to prep school in Sherborne and excelled in English and Latin. He was a gifted and creative writer.
“He was an active member of the local church and he had periods of anxiety around exam time but achieved excellent results. “He missed out on a place at Bristol University and became despondent and unhappy… Eventually he got a place to do history at Cardiff.”
The court heard Jasper took a year out after getting his results to travel and to ‘work on himself’. The teenager had suffered with depression and anxiety, which got particularly bad around exam periods, according to his GP Joanna Briffa. She told the court he had ‘high standards and expectations of himself’.
He had been seeing a counsellor in the months before his death and had been prescribed fluoxetine – often called Prozac. Before his A-Levels, which he did at a different school, Jasper attended Sherborne School in Dorset. A spokeswoman for the school said: “Jasper was a uniquely talented individual.
“He was possessed of tremendous academic ability and had a wide range of passions and interests. Above all, he was an exceptionally kind and gentle young man.” A few months before he died, Jasper had met a new girlfriend, Georgia Mae Holzer, at a concert in Southampton.
On the day of his death he had driven from his home in Somerset to visit her and stay overnight. Miss Holzer, told the court: “He left at 4pm and went home. He left in good spirits and we made plans for me to visit…
He told me since meeting me he felt happier.” About an hour later at 5.17pm on November 9, Jasper texted his mum saying ‘I’m sorry’. She replied instantly asking him ‘what for?’ but got no response.
After his death, his mum discovered journals which contained diary entries reading ‘What is the point of life’ and ‘Even when I am at my happiest, sadness can crush me at anytime.’ PC Michelle Jones, who investigated the crash, said: “Dashcam footage from the HGV showed the VW on the correct side of the road. “The VW crossed from its own lane into the hatched area and into the path of the HGV.
“It is my opinion the Mr de Pelet’s deviation was inconsistent with a momentary lapse of concentration or distraction… A conscious driver input from Mr de Pelet caused the crash.” HM Senior Coroner for Swindon and Wiltshire, David Ridley concluded: “I have seen the journals, read a few extracts and I noted the evidence from his mum that he had experienced a down turn in his mental health.
“I have also seen the text message saying sorry. “Pulling all that together as a result of the sudden dramatic down turn in his mental health at the relevant time – Jasper did intend to drive into the path of that vehicle.” He recorded a conclusion of suicide.
For more information and guidance about suicide visit samaritans.org
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