Train death student was ‘bright’ but ‘troubled’, coroner rules

The death of Zaki Safadi, 26, in March last year, was ruled "suicide with disturbed balance of mind"

The death of Zaki Safadi, 26, in March last year, was ruled "suicide with disturbed balance of mind" at Walthamstow Coroner's Court yesterday - Credit: Archant

A “bright, troubled young man” died instantly after being hit by a train in East Ham, an inquest has heard.

Zaki Safadi, 26, took his own life “while the balance of his mind was disturbed” on March 28 last year, assistant coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe ruled at Walthamstow Coroner’s Court yesterday.

The court heard how the SOAS history student, who lived in a house share in Plaistow, had been struggling with hallucinations as well as alcohol and drug abuse for a number of years and had been prescribed medication.

On the morning of his death, Mr Safadi’s flatmates had called the police and an ambulance after he was seen holding a knife to his stomach.

He was seen by mental health services as well as the university counselling team but said he had no intention of harming himself or anyone else. A medical assessment an hour before his death also revealed him to be at low risk.


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Dr Radcliffe said the involvement of the health professionals had been “good on the whole, adding: “I can find nothing to find that there has been neglect in this matter.

A fortnight before his death, the student had taken an overdose of his medication, but also claimed this was not to take his own life but to “quieten the voices inside his head”.

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A post mortem examination revealed there were no drugs in Mr Safadi’s bloodstream.

Medical professionals agreed Mr Safadi was a “likeable” and “articulate” young man who had sought help for his condition, particularly for the last six months of his life.

Recording her verdict, Dr Radcliffe said: “Zaki was a bright young man who was clearly troubled. He took some time to find out what he wanted to do with his life. He’d enrolled with SOAS which in itself speaks of his cognitive ability.

“It seemed that he had a background of voices in his head for some years and that something changed in and around October 2013 where the voices became more difficult for him to deal with.

“I think on balance that there’s a sufficient history of voices causing him distress that it’s more likely than not that the balance of his mind was disturbed.”

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