Student 'killed himself by crashing his car into lorry at 60mph'
‘Gifted’ ex pupil, 18, of ?34,000-a-year Sherborne School sent a text to his mother saying ‘I’m sorry’ moments before killing himself by ‘deliberately’ crashing his car into lorry after missing out on place at Bristol University, inquest hears
- Jasper de Pelet took his own life by taking off his seatbelt and veering into a lorry
- Seconds before the crash, the 18-year-old sent his mother text saying ‘I’m sorry’
- In journals found after his death, Jasper wrote about his depression and anxiety
- He was driving his Volkswagen Golf at 60mph when it collided with the DAF HGV
- Salisbury Coroners heard brakes weren’t applied and coroner recorded it suicide
- Call Samaritans on 116 123 or visit a Samaritans branch, see www.samaritans.org
Jasper de Pelet took his own life by taking off his seatbelt and veering into an oncoming lorry at more than 60mph in Wiltshire
A ‘gifted’ pupil sent a text to his mother saying ‘I’m sorry’ moments before he killed himself by ‘deliberately’ crashing his car into a lorry after missing out on a place at Bristol University, an inquest has heard.
Jasper de Pelet, who studied at Sherborne School in Dorset, took his own life by taking off his seatbelt and veering into an oncoming lorry at more than 60mph after visiting his girlfriend’s house.
Seconds before the crash the 18-year-old, who was on a gap year, sent his mother 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, Wiltshire, heard the brakes were not applied at any time as he drove across the hatched central reservation.
His father Louis, a counsellor, and mother Rebecca, who is head of English at Sherborne School, wiped away tears as they heard details at the inquest.
In a statement read to the court, Mrs de Pelet said: ‘Jasper had a creative flair, he loved writing, performing…
In journals found after his death Jasper (pictured) wrote about his depression and anxiety saying ‘even when I am at my happiest sadness can crush me at any time’
Seconds before the crash the 18-year-old, who had gone to Sherborne School (pictured), sent his mother a heartbreaking text saying: ‘I’m sorry’
‘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, who had one older and one younger sister, took a year out after getting his results to travel and to ‘work on himself’.
Jasper’s father Louis (left), a counsellor, and mother Rebecca (right), who is head of English at Sherborne School, wiped away tears as they heard details at the inquest
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 – shortly before he killed himself.
Before his A-Levels, which he did at a different school, Jasper attended Sherborne School in Dorset, which is one of the oldest in the UK, having remained in the same location for over 1,300 years and was founded by St Aldhelm in 705AD.
An inquest at Salisbury Coroners Court (pictured), Wiltshire, heard the brakes were not applied at any time as he drove across the hatched central reservation
Private school pupils find it harder to get into top universities:
Private school pupils are finding it harder to get into top universities as state school students are winning places with lower A-level grades, research showed. Figures showed those from the state sector were much more likely to be admitted to a Russell Group university with B and C grades than their privately educated peers.
These entrants were also less likely to have obtained A or A* grades.
An audit by the Daily Mail in 2015 found many top institutions were giving state school pupils offers which were up to two grades lower than course entry requirements. Generous offers are given if pupils come from poorly performing schools, low income families or live in ‘low participation neighbourhoods’.
It raises the competition for places for the privately educated who are not afforded the same leeway. The figures emerged as universities strive to fulfil ever more ambitious government targets on social mobility, which are aimed at helping bright but disadvantaged pupils reach their potential. But critics say the selection process was too crude and questioned whether it was the right way to help those most in need.
The student information website BestCourse4me.com analysed A-level grades held by students entering 20 of the 24 Russell Group universities in the academic year 2012/2013.
Using data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, they found those from state schools have lower grades on average.
Around 54 per cent of the qualifications held by independent school pupils entering the 20 universities were either A* or A at A-level. This fell to 44 per cent among state entrants. The grades B and C made up 25 per cent of the marks received by state entrants, compared with only 17 per cent among independent school students.
Sherborne, which costs ?34,000 a year, is one of only five remaining single-sex boys’ boarding independent senior schools in the country – the others being Eton, Harrow, Radley and Winchester.
Actor Hugh Bonneville, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin and the man responsible for cracking the enigma code, Alan Turing, are some of the school’s notable alumni.
A spokesman 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, Hampshire.
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 17:17pm 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 at the A303’s junction with the A350 in Wiltshire, 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.