Tributes pour in for Clapton teen who drowned in canal
- Credit: Archant
Councillor urges ‘transparency’ in investigation of police involvement
Tributes have been paid to a teenager who drowned in a canal last week after being chased by police.
The parents of 17-year-old Jack Susianta were among those leaving messages and floral tributes on a footbridge bridge beside the scene of his death at the River Lea in Clapton.
Police had been called to the Mossbourne Academy student’s nearby family home at about 3pm on Wednesday last week but he is believed to have smashed through a window and run away.
Jack, who had also gone missing the previous day, was later spotted on Hackney Marshes but, before police could reach him, he jumped into the canal near Lea Bridge Road. Police said a life aid was thrown to him before an officer entered the water in an attempt to rescue him, without success. His body was recovered just before 5.30pm.
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The incident has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission and an investigation is under way.
Parents Anna and Ketut Susianta said in a tribute at the scene: “To our darling son, Jackie boy. For 17 years you have made us very happy parents. You made us laugh.
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“We watched you grow. We learned so many things from you. You filled our lives with joy as you started to understand and interact with the world. You always let us know how much you loved and cherished us. You were so proud of who you are – we are proud too, and we stand by you.”
Another letter said: “You were a genuine, friendly an intelligent boy with a bright future ahead of you, it’s just so heartbreaking that life ceased now.”
Jack, who was called a “gifted” pupil by his peers, was studying maths, chemistry and media A-levels.
On the day following his death, his friends and family – including relatives that had flown from his father’s native Bali – gathered together at the bridge for traditional Hindu prayers to commemorate his life.
A tribute by one of Jack’s teachers described him as her “favourite student.” It read: “You were such a gentle sweet boy, with such a great sense of humour. I will always remember you smiling, having fun with your friends and making everyone in the class laugh (including me).”
Leabridge ward Cllr Ian Rathbone has called for more transparency from the police on the progress of the investigation into Jack’s death, which has shocked the community.
He said: “Police do communicate with us but they could make more of an effort on keeping us informed about the progress of such a case.
“For me, it would be a double tragedy if young people started making up their minds about what happened before they had the facts.
He added: “I also want to say I hope the IPCC will be looking at the previous days the police had dealings with Jack, because there is more to this story. Jack was unwell; that is why the family called for help.
“There needs to be a lot more talking and looking again at how the police deal with young people aged 17 and also situations at the riverside.”