Published: 1 June, 2012
by WILLIAM McLENNAN
A YOUNG maths teacher took his own life by walking “purposefully” in front of a train at Finsbury Park tube station early one Sunday morning, a coroner was told on Wednesday.
Benjamin de Meza, 27, who lived in Trinder Road, Stroud Green, had never voiced any suicidal thoughts or shown depressive tendencies before, the St Pancras inquest heard.
He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a child and had difficulty controlling his blood sugar levels.
Dr Nicole Braham, a diabetes specialist at Whittington Hospital in Archway, said there was a higher prevalence of depression among people with type 1 diabetes. This is thought to be due to constantly taking insulin and the physical effects of a fluctuating blood-sugar level.
“If you are swinging from high to low [blood sugar] your body is put under extreme distress,” she said. “He was not well managed. There were various things that he had got wrong with his treatment.”
Dr Braham added that Mr de Meza seemed down, was having difficulty sleeping and was being wakened by the need to urinate, caused by his diabetes.
“I offered him clinical psychology and he said he did not need it,” she said.
CCTV images showed Mr de Meza, who worked as an independent maths tutor, waiting calmly on the platform with his arms crossed before lunging forward in front of a train just after 8am on March 11, ruling out any disorientation due to a failure to control his condition.
A witness said: “Suddenly to my horror I saw a male person dive deliberately, directly in the train’s path. It happened in a flash and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”
Describing the CCTV footage of Mr de Meza, British Transport Police officer Steve Tucker said the maths teacher walked “purposefully” towards the platform.
Mr de Meza’s father, David, said his son – who had a masters degree from Warwick University – had seemed fine when they met the day before his death.
“Ben was a reserved character, but not when you got to know him,” he said. “He wouldn’t like confrontation but he was in some ways a determined person.”
Deputy coroner Shirley Radcliffe recorded a verdict of suicide. She said: “I am sure when he stepped in front of that train he knew exactly what he was doing and knew this act was going to cause his death.”