Lee Ridgway, 16, threw himself under a train in Stockport

After leaving hospital, Lee Ridgway, pictured, sneaked out via his bedroom window and stepped into the path of a train at Bramhall Railway station

After leaving hospital, Lee Ridgway, pictured, sneaked out via his bedroom window and stepped into the path of a train at Bramhall Railway station

After leaving hospital, Lee Ridgway, pictured, sneaked out via his bedroom window and stepped into the path of a train at Bramhall Railway station

A 16-year-old schoolboy who threw himself under the wheels of a passenger train wrote a tragic final Facebook message reading ‘life’s cruel, life’s a game, I lost’, an inquest heard.

Lee Ridgway was devastated after learning he was about to lose a dream job helping groundsmen at Manchester United’s stadium Old Trafford sparking a severe mental breakdown.

The youngster went on a drinking binge and was found by his parents in their garden ‘howling at the top of his voice’ saying he had made ‘a decision to take his own life’.

He added: ‘Everything I do goes to rubbish. I had the job and it goes to nothing.’

Lee was taken to the A&E unit of Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport, Greater Manchester.

But despite saying he wanted to die he was kept in a bed on a corridor – and when his family were told he would not be seen by a doctor for up to four hours they took him home.

The teenager later sneaked out via his bedroom window and stepped into the path of a train at Bramhall Railway station.

In the moments before his death he posted two messages on Twitter saying: ‘Life’s s***’ and ‘just a matter of time now’ before uploading a final message on Facebook saying: ‘Life’s cruel. Life’s a game. I lost’.

An inquest was told Lee was a keen footballer and enjoyed cookery but he suffered from anxiety.

Despite his family seeking help from healthcare professionals, the teenager fell in with a bad crowd in November 2014 and started using drugs.

Lee posted a final message on Facebook saying: 'Life's cruel. Life's a game. I lost'

Lee posted a final message on Facebook saying: 'Life's cruel. Life's a game. I lost'

Lee posted a final message on Facebook saying: ‘Life’s cruel. Life’s a game. I lost’

Lee Ridgway, pictured, was devastated after learning he was about to lose a dream job helping groundsmen at Manchester United's stadium Old Trafford

Lee Ridgway, pictured, was devastated after learning he was about to lose a dream job helping groundsmen at Manchester United's stadium Old Trafford

Lee Ridgway, pictured, was devastated after learning he was about to lose a dream job helping groundsmen at Manchester United’s stadium Old Trafford

His mother Thelma, 50, told the Stockport hearing: ‘He knew a lot of people who were a bad influence and he had set times to come home which he began to disregard.

‘He was using substances with his friends including legal highs and sometimes cannabis.

‘It was very difficult to keep up with him. He really researched what he was doing and he was a very very intelligent boy and was trying to minimise the risk to himself.’

But Mrs Ridgway said by Year 11, Lee had stopped using legal highs and added: ‘He really applied himself and started going to the gym and took up Thai boxing.

‘We thought he had turned the corner and he was making positive plans about the future.

‘He flirted with the idea of an apprenticeship. He wanted to go to Aquinas College to study Media, Business and Law.He knew what he needed and worked to achieve it.

‘He just seemed much more in control of himself and was becoming an adult. We trusted him and he was doing okay.’

Floral tributes to Lee were left at Bramhall Railway Station where he died

Floral tributes to Lee were left at Bramhall Railway Station where he died

Floral tributes to Lee were left at Bramhall Railway Station where he died

A month before the tragedy on August 28, 2016, the Ridgeway family went on holiday to Greece and the teenager said it was ‘the best holiday he had.’

His mother added: ‘We were very encouraged. He was pleased that he had not used cannabis.

‘He was working at Manchester United preparing the ground for the new season. He did long days there.

‘He was working really hard at the gym and he was seeing a young girl.

‘He was coming home when told and we were much more flexible with his timings. He was not giving us cause for concern.

‘After his GCSE results we offered to take him out for a meal – on the surface he seemed really happy – but in hindsight he was not as self-sufficient as we thought.’

The hearing was told Lee ‘came undone’ in the days before his death when he was disappointed at being told his job at Manchester United would be coming to an end. It was also thought his girlfriend had finished with him.

On August 27 – the day before his death – Lee was said be ‘virtually euphoric’ before going to a party but he drank over a third of a litre bottle of vodka and sent messages to two of his friends saying he was going to take his life.

Mrs Ridgway said: ‘Lee came in and was completely dishevelled. He was manic – like a completely different person.

‘He was just hysterical. He was standing in the garden howling at the top of his voice. He said he had made the decision to take his life.

‘He said he was going to go to the train station. He had got too drunk and had lost track of the timings. He was talking a bit but mostly gibberish. That was not my boy.’

Inquiries revealed Lee posted messages to friends and family saying goodbye and thanks

Inquiries revealed Lee posted messages to friends and family saying goodbye and thanks

Inquiries revealed Lee posted messages to friends and family saying goodbye and thanks

Paramedics arrived at the scene but Lee’s father Ian, 48, said: ‘It took four of us to get him out. We were out of our depth. He was still acting manic.

‘He was still under the influence of alcohol and saying “everything I do goes to rubbish. I had the job and it goes to nothing”. 

‘At hospital he repeatedly tried to get on and off the bed. He was clearly mentally and physical exhausted.

‘He wanted to go home. I went over to the nurse’s station and asked how long it would be before someone would see Lee.

‘She said it was going to be another three to four hours before he could be seen.

‘He would have run off so we rang a taxi – I could not control him. Lee wouldn’t wait that long and that’s why we went home. “Why would they not see me?” was the question he asked but he was asleep within minutes when he got home.’

The hearing was told the hospital contacted the family the following day to say a mental healthcare professional would see Lee.

But that evening the teenager was said to be ‘very very down’ which his parents believed was due to him being ’embarassed’ that his friends had witnessed his breakdown.

The youngster sneaked out of his home later that night and was seen on platforms at Bramhall Station at 10.08pm sitting on the edge and sending messages on his mobile phone.

He then climbed onto the tracks in the path of the train – giving the driver no chance to avoid him.

Inquiries revealed he posted messages to friends and family saying goodbye and thanks.

The inquest is expected to address whether Lee received appropriate care at the hospital in the hours before his death. The hearing continues.

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

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