Death of teenager ‘hurts every day’

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The family of a 19-year-old man from Ilkeston who died when he jumped from Bennerley Viaduct say they are still coming to terms with his death.

Samuel Stopforth, who lived with his girlfriend at his parents’ house on Richmond Avenue, Cotmanhay, died on the afternoon of October 1, 2012. An inquest into his death at Derby and South Derbyshire Coroner’s Court ruled that Sam took his own life while the balance of his mind was temporarily disturbed, following a text argument with girlfriend Hollie Dann, a transcript of which was read out in court.

This week, Sam’s dad, Adrian, told the Advertiser losing his son ‘hurts every day.’

He said: “It’s really difficult when you lose somebody like that. For 19 years we did everything together, he was a mini me. Everything I did he did, wherever I went he went. It’s unconditional love and it’s hard to put into words how you feel.

“We’re still trying to come to terms with it, we never will. I don’t want another family to go through what we had to go through, that’s why I said gates should be put on the viaduct.”

Adrian feels the 50 foot high viaduct is too easy to access and wrote a letter to the Advertiser earlier this year when another person fell off it. He said: “I couldn’t believe four months after he did it somebody else fell. I know they’ll never pull it down but let’s remember it as a piece of engineering history, not a suicide spot.”

The family moved to Ilkeston from Coventry in 2008 after Adrian starting working at Rolls-Royce. Adrian said that Sam had made many friends in that time: “He had only lived in Ilkeston for five years but it was like he had been here all his life,” he said.

“He was fun loving, always up for a laugh. He liked to go out and see friends and he loved football.”

Recording his verdict, coroner Dr Robert Hunter said: “I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Sam took his own life. It would appear from the texts in evidence that Sam was very much in love and besotted with Hollie, to say he was consumed by love is not too strong a term.”

Giving evidence at the inquest, Sam’s mum Jane Stopforth said: “He was very loving, very sensitive. When things were bad he’d take things pretty hard.”

Sam’s ashes were scattered at the Ricoh Arena, home of Coventry City FC.