Devastated pupils screamed ‘I saw it, I saw it’ and wept after seeing ‘online bullying victim’ Sam Connor, 14, killed by a train – as relatives pay tribute to ‘bright’ schoolboy
- 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
- Heartbroken relatives have claimed the schoolboy was being bullied online
Devastated pupils screamed ‘I saw it, I saw it’ and wept after seeing ‘online bullying victim’ Sam Connor killed by a train – as relatives pay tribute to the ‘funny’ and ‘bright’ schoolboy.
The tragic 14-year-old was struck by the train in front of 50 of his horrified classmates, who they described as ‘a nice young kid with a good sense of humour.’
Heartbroken relatives said bullies were posting unkind things about him online, as reported by The Sun.
Sobbing pupils called out ‘I saw it, I saw it’ and shouted Sam’s name shortly after he was hit by the train at Chertsey station, in Surrey.
His family have also spoken of their devastation at losing their ‘sensitive little soul.’
Speaking to MailOnline Deborah Barrett, first wife of Sam’s father James, said: ‘It’s just so sad. It’s so awful, isn’t it? My three girls are Sam’s half sisters, they are all so upset.
‘It’s horrible. You can’t imagine, can you? I’ve just spoken to my middle one and she said he just lay down on the tracks.
‘He was a sensitive little soul, a cute little thing who was into gaming. He was funny and sarcastic with a great sense of humour.
‘Although he was shy, we used to be able to make him laugh.’
Sam Connor, 14 (pictured left with his mother Christine and his brother James) died yesterday when he lay down in front on a train at Chertsey railway station in front of horrified classmates
At the scene, one heartbreaking note left by a well-wisher along with flowers said: ‘So sorry that life wasn’t kinder to you sweetheart. RIP Angel’
Sam’s friend Freddie-Joe Twine paid tribute to the Year 9 pupil and said he was one of the nices, most charming members of his local breakdancing club (pictured on stage)
Flowers have been left at Chertsey railway station today in tribute to Sam, who was killed by a train after he handed his bag and phone to a friend and laid on the tracks on Monday afternoon
Some friends said Sam was being bullied at the Salesian School – a Roman Catholic comprehensive – although others said he was intelligent and popular – but was worried about his grades at the end of Year 9
Deborah, who is the mother of Sam’s three half-sisters, added: ‘This is so horrible for the family. They loved him, they were all quite close.
She added: ‘There were six kids altogether, they are all quite close, the children, and Sam was the youngest.
‘Sophie, my youngest daughter, rang me on Monday and told me what Sam had done, and said he’d been bullied at school. Then why weren’t the school doing anything? It doesn’t bear thinking about. It’s awful.’
Sam, a ‘bright and popular’ pupil at Salesian School – a Roman Catholic comprehensive – died on Monday afternoon at Chertsey railway station, in Surrey.
The schoolboy, from Ashford, Surrey, is said to have handed his satchel and mobile phone to a friend before sliding off the platform and onto the tracks.
A passenger, known only as Lewis, was travelling on the service from Chiswick and saw the incident as the train came into the station.
The 28-year-old, from 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.
When he realised that they were from Salesian School, he rang the teachers to tell them what had happened.
The family of tragic Sam (left) are said to be devastated over his death as one relative today described him as ‘a sensitive little soul’ and ‘a nice kid with a good sense of humour’
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.
‘They were all looking down, whatever they saw must have been horrific,’ he added.
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.
A commuter who did not want to be named, told The Times: ‘There was a crowd of kids at the far end of the track, all looking down.
‘I didn’t know what had happened but then I heard kids screaming. They were shouting things like ‘he’s done it, he’s jumped’.
‘It was very chaotic with lots of crying and running.’
The owner of a convenience store close to the Connor family home spoke of his shock at the teenager’s death.
He described Sam 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.’
Sam’s friend Freddie-Joe Twine described Sam as one of the ‘nicest and charming’ boys in their break-dancing class.
He wrote on Facebook: ‘Cannot think of an emotion to describe how I am right now apart from heartbroken.’
The schoolboy, from Ashford, Surrey, is said to have handed his satchel and mobile phone to a friend before sliding off the platform and onto the tracks. Pictured: Police at the station today
Sobbing friends of Sam screamed ‘I saw it, I saw it’ after the Year 9 pupil was struck by the train. Officers, seen patrolling the station, said the death was not being treated as suspicious
Other friends said Sam was a bright and clever pupil, but said he was worried about his end of year grades before going into his GCSE years.
Several parents at the school said he was being bullied.
One mother said her two daughters had told her Sam was being picked on.
Another mother said: ‘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. They said it 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.’
Three police officers stood on the platform today and monitored children getting off the trains.
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.
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
Salesian School cancelled its sports day and brought in counsellors for students. Staff said they had ‘no record’ of the child being bullied
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.
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.’
For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see www.samaritans.org for details.
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