Former Crawley student ‘took his own life’ after jumping from County Mall

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A former Crawley College student who ‘jumped’ from County Mall took his own life, an inquest heard.

Joshua McGuire, 20, of Barcombe Avenue, Streatham, died on August 25, 2015.

An inquest into his death continued in Horsham yesterday (Thursday April 14).

The inquest heard Joshua, who was also know as Joshua Smith, was fostered from the age of five.

Michael McCarthy, from Lambeth Borough Council, told the inquest Joshua’s relationship with his foster family entered a ‘different phase’ when he was 18 and he asked to leave.

He moved to Lambeth after no housing could be found in Surrey.

Mr McCarthy said the local authority was not always responsible for supporting young people after the age of 18 but in some cases, such as Joshua’s, it could help until 21.

He said: “The aim would have been to help with home education training and employment and provide him with the security and accommodation beyond the age of 21.”

Joshua’s foster mother Jean Smith said the family remained in contact with Joshua and she felt he was not ready to move away from his friends and family in Surrey.

She said: “He found himself in difficult circumstances. For all his life living with us we had managed to keep him in college and employment.

“He moved to Lambeth and he was offending, taking drugs and wasn’t in employment.

“It wasn’t the right decision in my view.”

Mr McCarthy said: “We did explore the possibility of finding him accommodation locally because that was where his support had been. Unfortunately we drew a blank.”

Mr McCarthy said Joshua had 24 hour support at his new accommodation.

At an earlier hearing on February 1, the inquest heard Joshua had been out for the evening with his girlfriend before his death.

A post mortem confirmed he was more than double the drink drive alcohol limit.

West Sussex Coroner Penelope Schofield said police arrived at the Crawley car park at 10.45pm and found Mr McGuire on the roof of an entrance.

Officers tried to talk him down but he jumped, she said.

Emergency service spent 45 minutes treating him but he died at the scene.

Mrs Schofield said his action in jumping showed he intended to take his own life.

She said: “I understand that Joshua was struggling and his emotions got the better of him.

She told his foster family: “You put so much into providing for that young man and credit where credit is due you did a wonderful job.

“It is sad that this case has gone in this way. I agree it was a spur of the moment decision.”