Sam Connor: First pictures of Chertsey boy killed by train in front of classmates

First pictures of ‘bullied’ schoolboy, 14, who lay down in front of train and was killed in front of 50 of his horrified classmates

  • Sam Connor was hit by a train in Chertsey, Surrey at around 4pm on Monday
  • Witness said 50 schoolchildren watched on screaming and calling out to him 
  • Paramedics attended the station but child was pronounced dead at the scene
  • Headmaster of school says pupils and staff are in shock and receiving support 

These are the first pictures of the ‘bullied’ 14-year-old schoolboy who died after ‘lying down on the tracks’ in front of a rush-hour train as 50 classmates watched in horror.

Tributes have been left for Sam Connor who was killed after being hit by the train at Chertsey railway station in Surrey on Monday afternoon.

A friend said the ‘bright and popular’ schoolboy was one of the ‘nicest and charming’ boys who took part in his local break-dancing class.

A dozen floral tributes have been left at the station today tied up to the railings with messages of love and support including: ‘So sorry that life wasn’t kinder to you sweetheart. RIP Angel’.

Sam Connor, 14 (pictured left with his mother Christine and his brother James) died yesterday when he laid down in front on a train at Chertsey railway station in front of horrified classmates

Sam Connor, 14 (pictured left with his mother Christine and his brother James) died yesterday when he laid down in front on a train at Chertsey railway station in front of horrified classmates

Sam (left) was described as one of the nicest and most charming people in his break dancing class

Sam (left) was described as one of the nicest and most charming people in his break dancing class

Flowers have been left at Chertsey Station today in tribute to a 14-year-old boy killed by a train on Monday. A witness today said the horror crash was witnessed by around 50 of his classmates from the nearby Salesian School

Flowers have been left at Chertsey Station today in tribute to a 14-year-old boy killed by a train on Monday. A witness today said the horror crash was witnessed by around 50 of his classmates from the nearby Salesian School

Witnesses also said the child was ‘being bullied’ at the Roman Catholic school. Pictured are some of the flowers left in his memory

One note left with flowers, pictured, said 'So sorry that life wasn't kinder to you sweetheart. RIP Angel'

One note left with flowers, pictured, said ‘So sorry that life wasn’t kinder to you sweetheart. RIP Angel’

Some schoolchildren claimed he was ‘being bullied’ at Salesian School – a Roman Catholic comprehensive in Chertsey and witnesses said he ‘handed over his belongings’ to friends before jumping onto the platform.

A passenger, known only as Lewis, was travelling on the service from Chiswick and saw the incident as the train came into Chertsey Station.

Lewis, 28, of Weybridge, said: ‘The train stopped very suddenly with only one carriage alongside the platform. I thought maybe one of the kids had dropped their phone as they were all looking down at the wheels of the carriage.

‘We saw some of the girls starting to cry; we saw some of the boys leaning down, literally on their knees, calling down between the train and the tracks, calling ‘Sam, Sam’.’

‘That’s when we realised something was wrong. There was a girl on phone, crying, trying to talk to the driver.’

Lewis, who travels with the schoolchildren every day on his commute, said there were between 40 and 50 youngsters waiting to catch the train and when he realised that they were from Salesian School, he rang the teachers to tell them what had happened.

Tributes were left for Sam (circled along with other family members at his mother Christine's wedding), who was a pupil at Salesian School - a Roman Catholic comprehensive in Chertsey

Tributes were left for Sam (circled along with other family members at his mother Christine’s wedding), who was a pupil at Salesian School – a Roman Catholic comprehensive in Chertsey

He said the children stayed on the platform for around 10 minutes after the boy was hit before being ushered away.

He added: ‘They were all looking down, whatever they saw must have been horrific.’

Lewis said he was told to stay on the train for a further 30 minutes while the paramedics, police and train staff dealt with the incident.

He said: ‘What was particularly harrowing was there was a student paramedic who passed through the train and down on the tracks to help the boy.

‘When she got down there she collapsed and burst into tears – it was just the most harrowing thing.’

Lewis said he is familiar with the children and normally ‘braced himself’ for the moment they poured onto the carriages, chattering loudly.

‘We complain how noisy the children are normally but on that day it was just totally silent – I am just really shocked.’

When he finally was allowed off the train, he saw between 20 and 30 police cars parked outside the station, which had been shut down.

The owner of a convenience store close to the Connor family home spoke of his shock at the 14-year-old’s death.

He described Sam Connor as a ‘lovely, polite lad’, who would come into the shop with his brother.

He added: ‘He was always so polite and a really lovely lad. I just can’t believe what has happened.’

Another neighbour of the family added: ‘We heard what happened and it’s just such a shock. We feel desperately sad for the family. They are nice people’

Police, pictured at the station today, have been at the scene to reassure children using the service

Police, pictured at the station today, have been at the scene to reassure children using the service

Officers, pictured patrolling the station, said the incident was not being treated as suspicious

Officers, pictured patrolling the station, said the incident was not being treated as suspicious

The station, pictured, is used by scores of students who commute to and from school

The station, pictured, is used by scores of students who commute to and from school

Two women who work in a sweetshop opposite the station told how tearful children poured into the shop after the incident at 4pm on Monday and described how he slid off the platform and put himself in the path of the train.

One of the workers, who asked not be named, said: ‘They kept saying they saw him jump. Many were in tears. It was just awful. We see the children all the time and this has just been so shocking.’

Several parents at the school described their children telling them that the boy was being bullied at school.

One mother said her two daughters at the school had told her Sam was bullied, while a dad told Mail Online his 13 year old son had reported bullying at the school.

Another mother told MailOnline: ‘When I got the emails and texts from the school telling me what had happened I just burst into tears.

‘I spoke with my daughters when they came home about what had happened. All they knew was that the boy’s name was Sam and said everyone was talking about him being bullied.

‘If this is true there has to be an investigation. How bad can it be that a 14-year-old boy wants to take his own life. I just cannot comprehend what he must have been feeling.’

Another parent added: ‘My son told me the boy was being bullied. I do not know any other details, but it is horrifying.

‘I know all sort of things go on in schools that teachers are not fully aware of. There has to be some sort of investigation.’

Three police officers stood on the platform today and monitored children getting off the trains.

Schoolchildren who were at the station, pictured, said the boy 'handed his belongings' to friends before jumping off the platform

Schoolchildren who were at the station, pictured, said the boy ‘handed his belongings’ to friends before jumping off the platform

Station workers have been tying up the flowers along the railings today after they were left by the side of the fence

Station workers have been tying up the flowers along the railings today after they were left by the side of the fence

A variety of colourful flowers have been left at the scene, which has become a small shrine

A variety of colourful flowers have been left at the scene, which has become a small shrine

It is understood that a piece of paper found at the station may have been a suicide note scribbled by the Year 9 pupil who went to Salesian Secondary School in the town. Its website describes it as a ‘happy and thriving’ community.

One boy with friends at the school said yesterday: ‘It’s horrible. I have friends who were there and saw the whole thing.

‘Sam handed his bag and phone to his friends and then lay down on the track in front of the train.

‘Some of the older pupils were really good – they held everyone back and made sure everyone else was safe.

‘They said he was being bullied. It’s only four days until school breaks up and you’d have thought he’d be able to get help.

‘I’ve met him in passing and he seemed happy. But I guess you never know what’s going on with someone. It’s just a shock.’

Yesterday pupils, residents and parents laid floral tributes at the station, including one mother with a son at Salesian School.

She said: ‘There are issues with bullying. My son used to see Sam on his own in the playground.

‘He never saw him being physically attacked but he knew he was being bullied. It’s just horrific.’

School executive head teacher James Kibble wrote an emotional letter to parents after the tragedy.

‘This is an incredibly difficult situation but knowing the faith, compassion and strength of our school community, I am confident that we will work together to support one another,’ he said.

Mr Kibble added that counsellors and an educational psychologist would be on site to provide support.

Samaritans volunteers were also offering support as pupils left school to catch the train home.

Salesian School cancelled its sports day and brought in counsellors for students. Staff said they had 'no record' of the child being bullied

Salesian School cancelled its sports day and brought in counsellors for students. Staff said they had ‘no record’ of the child being bullied

A school spokesman said they had ‘no record’ of the boy being bullied and could make no further comment currently.

In a statement the British Transport Police said: ‘Officers were called to Chertsey station at 4pm yesterday (July 15) following reports of a casualty on the tracks.

‘Paramedics also attended but sadly a 14-year-old boy was pronounced dead at the scene. His family have been informed and are being supported by specially trained officers.

‘The incident is not being treated as suspicious and a file will be prepared for the coroner.’

The same paramedics who went to the scene in Chertsey were called to the next station on the line last night where a person had thrown themselves under a train.

The victim at Woking rail station in Surrey could not be saved and was certified dead on the tracks.

No details of the person were available last night and it was not known if there was any connection between the two deaths.

For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see www.samaritans.org for details. 

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