Wimbledon College of Art student died clutching his laptop after jumping in front of a train
A student who became convinced he was under surveillance died after jumping in front of a train whilst clutching his laptop.
Leon Blanchard, 21, was killed by injuries sustained in the collision with a train passing through Wimbledon station at 1pm on Wednesday, November 6, an inquest heard.
A talented art student and hockey player who represented Teddington hockey club, friends and family said they had no idea he would consider harming himself.
The eldest of four boys, Mr Blanchard had just started the second year of his fine art degree at Wimbledon College of Art and moved into a student flat in Peckham with three friends.
Clare Blanchard, his mother, said: "He was desperate to go and move out. He was absolutely delighted. He moved in with his friend Alex and some other people from the hockey world that he was involved with."
His best friend and housemate, Alexander Short, noticed Mr Blanchard became very anxious a week before the incident.
Mr Short said: "The Wednesday before the incident he had gone to pick up a small amount of cannabis.
"While he was out collecting a small amount he had bumped into someone in the street who he had a conversation with.
"I’m still not sure what the conversation was about, only it was with a man called Little Man.
"There had been a story we had heard at a party a year before. Little Man had informed police of friends drug dealing.
"So from this information it started to stem that Leon believed after buying cannabis there would be some sort of repercussions."
Mr Blanchard told his friend he believed his mobile phone and e-mail were being tampered with, either by an individual or the police.
He asked his parents if the police had been to their house and got Mr Short to examine his laptop.
The night before his death, Mr Blanchard visited a friend’s flat in Twickenham before returning to sleep at his parents house in Hampton Hill.
The following morning his father woke him at 9am and he said he was going to college.
Mrs Blanchard returned home from taking an aunt to hospital later that day, when she heard the fateful knocking on the door and was met by the British Transport Police.
Police said Mr Blanchard had not been under surveillance.
Detective sergeant Danny Stockdale told the hearing police identified a Little Man, from Peckham, with links to cannabis, but no evidence was found to take the matter further.
DS Stockdale said, of the conversation which led Mr Blanchard to paranoia: "No-one really knows what happened."
The inquest was told Mr Blanchard had started smoking cannabis aged 15 or 16 and did hard drugs at parties.
No drugs were found in his liver during the postmortem examination.
Mr Short said: "He was a very active individual, involved in all kinds of projects, very open to new things. He always liked to be active and out and about.
"He was a very calm person. All the time I knew him I can say I never saw him lose his temper, shout or be unreasonably angry."
Angela Hodes, assistant coroner for Westminster Coroner's Court, said: "Mr Leon Xavier Blanchard took his own life whilst the balance of his mind was disturbed."
The inquest was held at the Royal Courts of Justice on Thursday, March 13.
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