Talented Wanstead High School pupil found dying

Straight A student David Turay, 19, was found by his dad Peter in their Dagenham home shortly before 6am on November 5 last year, an inquest heard.

Mr Turay told Walthamstow Coroner’s Court how he had woken earlier that night feeling cold and had “got up to investigate” but found his son asleep.

After praying for ten or fifteen minutes, he returned to bed but was disturbed by the sound of a noise in the kitchen.

He said: “I came downstairs to check it out and found David lying on the floor. He said to me, ‘Daddy, is that you?’ I said, ‘yes David, it’s me’.”

A knife was found beside him, with another on the side, and although Mr Turay called 999, David was pronounced dead at 6.57am.

Mr Turay described David, a talented musician, as “academically astute” but said that in January 2014 the teenager announced that he wanted to drop out of his studies at Wanstead High School in Redbridge Lane West, Wanstead, just six months before his exams.

It was in the subsequent months that David spent various lengths of time living with friends he met on the music scene.

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His mother, Grace Turay, told how when David failed to maintain contact with his family for a couple of months during the summer of last year a few of his friends brought his saxophone to the house in a bid to get him home.

Mrs Turay told how she and her husband had attempted to seek help from the mental health charity Mind, but were told that because David was an adult, he needed to approach the charity himself or provide permission for his parents to do so.

In the days leading up to his death, David had told both his parents that the family needed to leave the country and return to Sierra Leone.

Mr Turay said: “He was very afraid. He said, ‘we must leave this country or something is going to happen.’ When I asked him what he was afraid of, he said, ‘you don’t understand, Daddy’.”

He told the court that on the day before David’s death, his son had attempted to sell his musical instrument. It is believed that this was his attempt to raise enough money to leave the country.

Senior coroner Nadia Persaud recorded an open verdict at the hearing on Thursday and said he may have been suffering from an undiagnosed mental illness.

She said: “I do not feel I can find beyond reasonable doubt that David killed himself intentionally.”

Mr Turay said: “Nothing we can say or do can bring David back, but I wouldn’t want this to happen to any other family.”