Teenager Ashley took his own life, inquest hears

This Is Wiltshire: An inquest found that Ashley McKinnon committed suicide by leaping from the top level of the Wyvern multi-storey car park in February An inquest found that Ashley McKinnon committed suicide by leaping from the top level of the Wyvern multi-storey car park in February

TEENAGER Ashley Paul McKinnon, who fell from the Wyvern car park, took his own life, an inquest heard.

It was found, Ashley, 17, who was living at Radnor Lodge hostel, in Old Town, had committed suicide by leaping to his death from the top level of the Wyvern multi-storey car park during the evening of February 13, this year.

During today’s proceedings, at Salisbury Coroners’ Court, it was heard that Ashley, who was unemployed, and his girlfriend, who cannot be named for legal reasons, got into a dispute over a Valentine's meal as he walked her home.

Sergeant Troy Smith, based at Gablecross Police Station, said: “Everything was fine up until mention of a Valentine’s meal came up and Ashley wanting to pay for it, there seemed to be a matter of pride for him, with his girlfriend saying she’d pay for it, this lead to an argument.

“The couple had discussed self-harm but I know his girlfriend couldn’t understand why he would want to take his own life as things were looking up for Ashley.”

Ashley went to a park after leaving his girlfriend while she took a bag of his belongings to Radnor Lodge - leaving before he returned. Ashley got back to the centre at around 7.45pm quickly leaving again.

Sarah Higgins, Radnor Lodge keyworker, said: “It was like he was in a red zone, he wouldn’t make contact with me. I assumed he was going to see his girlfriend and had no idea he was doing what he was going to do.”

The court heard that he would often go to the Wyvern Car Park to socialise or alone to think through his problems.

Gemma Francis, who lives across the road from the car park, saw Ashley, who was alone, jump off the building at around 9.20pm.

She said: “I was sat inside my apartment on my sofa and had a clear view of the Wyvern Car Park. My lights were off, my blinds open and the car park lights were on.”

Police and ambulance crews were called to the scene but they were unable to save Ashley with him being pronounced dead at 10.12pm.

A post-mortem found that he died of multiple severe traumatic injuries caused from a fall. There was no trace of alcohol or drugs in his system when he died.

The court heard that Ashley was upset at Christmas when his mother Samantha Butcher moved away from Swindon with the pair not having contact again until February 6.

A statement from his mother, who attended the proceedings, was read by Mr Singleton. It said: “He was a thinker and kept things to himself as he was a very private person.”

Many of Ashley’s family and friends were at the court and Mr Singleton heard him described as a very pleasant and popular young man who was undergoing training to help him get a job.

He was also expecting to be leaving Radnor Lodge to be part of their outreach programme which would have seen him live in his own accommodation.

“All the lads here liked him,” said Ms Higgins. “He would come into the office and chat to staff, he was always well-liked here and there was no bad feeling towards him and he had no enemies.”

Despite there being no suicide note, Mr Singleton, was convinced that Ashley had intended to end his life.

“I’m sure that his intention was to take his own life,” he said. “It remains for me to pass on to Ashley’s many friends and family my sincere condolences.”

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