AN Andover teenager tragically left letters for his family and friends before taking his own life, a court has heard.

At an inquest held on Wednesday, Winchester Coroner’s Court heard how 17-yearold Dominic Lancaster, of Holland Drive, Andover, left a note for his parents and posted others to two friends a few hours before his body was found by the train tracks adjacent to Moore Close on Friday, 14 November.

Central Hampshire coroner Grahame Short recorded a verdict of taking his own life after hearing evidence from the boy’s father, Andrew Lancaster, Sergeant Derek Bish from the British Transport Police and statements from two friends.

Holding back tears while giving evidence, Mr Lancaster described the family’s shock.

He said: “It was just a complete surprise.”

Describing Dominic as “mature”, Mr Lancaster told the court how he had done reasonably well in his GCSEs and started his A-levels at Queen Mary’s College, Basingstoke, but became unhappy. After a year he left and began attending Andover College in September.

Mr Lancaster said: “He was not particularly comfortable with that. He wasn’t unhappy as such, but he wasn’t comfortable with the college type of life.

“He struggled a little with the college life and the lack of structure.”

In the week leading up to his death, Dominic had spoken to his parents about his discontent and they discussed options including a future job interview at HSBC.

He left Andover College on Tuesday, 11 November, three days before his body was found.

On the evening of Thursday, 13 November, Dominic went out at 6.30pm and a short time later his friends, Callum Sandilands and Lucy Bensaid, found letters posted through their doors.

Along with the letter, he left Miss Bensaid a music memory card and £180 before sending her a text to tell her to check the post.

When Mr Sandilands found his letter his father rang Mrs Lancaster and told her to call police.

Dominic, who had a part-time job at The Range in Andover, also messaged his older brother saying he had left something under the laptop at home, which turned out to be a letter to his parents.

As previously reported by the Andover Advertiser, following a police search Dominic’s body was found by the train tracks near Moore Close in the early hours of Friday, 14 November.

Giving evidence, Sergeant Bish said the injuries were consistent with being sideswiped by a train and that they could not say whether he accessed the line by leaving the platform at Andover station or from a footbridge further along.

Recording the verdict, Mr Short said: “I must consider in this sort of case whether this was a deliberate act. Taking into account the planning made, particularly the letters, I am sure that that was the case.

“He clearly was a mature young man, but I think he had what can be described as low self-esteem.

“He did not believe in himself.”