River Lea drowning: Jack Susianta’s death was a ‘drug-related accident’

Jack Susianta

Jack Susianta - Credit: Archant

The drowning of a Hackney teenager in a canal was a drug-related accident, a jury has concluded.

Tony Murphy, solicitor for Jack Susianta's family reads a statement after the inquest's verdict, acc

Tony Murphy, solicitor for Jack Susianta's family reads a statement after the inquest's verdict, accompanied by his brother Sam and mother Anna. Photo Emma Bartholomew - Credit: Archant

Jack Susianta, 17, was chased by police and jumped into the river in the midst of an ecstasy-fuelled breakdown last summer, after he “karate kicked” a hole in a window and fled his home in Thornby Road, Clapton, wearing just his socks, T-shirt and boxer shorts.

During a two-week inquest at St Pancras Coroner’s Court, jurors heard how the Mossbourne A-level student had returned from festival Secret Garden Party in July “over emotional”, “nervous and agitated” after taking MDMA daily while there.

The teenager’s mental state meant he feared the police were not real and “wanted to kidnap him”.

Dr Glenda Ericksen, a consultant psychiatrist employed by East London Foundation NHS Trust, discharged Jack four hours after he was admitted to A and E at Homerton Hospital at 2am on Tuesday July 27, during his first psychotic episode which saw him run away from his family.

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She did not provide Jack or his family with any advice on what to do if his crisis re-emerged, as it did the following day when he drowned.

During proceedings, several witnesses were critical of the police, who they say did not enter the water until minutes after Jack submerged for the last time.

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But the Met denied this, saying one officer risked his life and entered the water. PC Tom Griffiths described how he saw Jack go underwater and believed it was in a “deliberate act” to evade him and fellow officers.

The jury at St Pancras Coroner’s Court reached a unanimous conclusion of “drug-related accidental death”.

In a statement read outside Poplar Coroner’s Court on Friday afternoon following the verdict, Jack’s mother, Anna Susianta said: “Jack was a wonderful son, a brilliant brother, a great friend and a bright student. He will never be forgotten. He loved life and had everything to live for.”

Coroner Mary Hassell will make recommendations this week in a prevention of future deaths report.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating the circumstances leading to Jack’s death.

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