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Tributes to former Highsted Grammar and Oasis Academy pupil, 15, who fell from Sheppey railway bridge

Tributes have been paid to a tragic teenager who fell to his death from a railway bridge.

Ellis Murphy-Richards, 15, fell from a pedestrian crossing on Sheppey .

Ellis Murphy-Richards, 15
Ellis Murphy-Richards, 15

Instead of helping to celebrate his 16th birthday party on November 5 his devastated family is now coming to terms with his death.

His mother Natasha Murphy, 33, from Epps Road, Sittingbourne , said: “We are all devastated. Ellis was very articulate and musical. He had learned to play the nose-flute, had taken violin lessons and had his own guitar. He had learned British Sign Language so he could sign along to pop songs.”

She said Ellis, a former pupil at Highsted Grammar School in Sittingbourne and the Oasis Academy on the Island, had a history of suicidal thoughts but had been making plans for the future. He had been living with his grandmother in Faversham .

His mother said: “He wanted to go to the fair at Faversham on Thursday and we were going to Thorpe Park for his birthday."

Before the tragedy he had been to a counselling session with the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service at Seashells in Sheerness. His mother said they had told his grandmother to take Ellis to A&E and had alerted police to his mental state. But it appears he then walked to the bridge.

She added: “If he had not been allowed to leave perhaps he would still be alive today.”

Floral tributes and a 16th birthday balloon left for Ellis at the scene
Floral tributes and a 16th birthday balloon left for Ellis at the scene

She paid tribute to the mystery person who tried to talk him down from the bridge and said: “Our thoughts are with that person and to the train driver.”

The tragedy happened around 4.30pm as a train carrying Sheppey school children from Sittingbourne back to Sheerness was passing. The power was cut to the track as emergency services raced to the scene. Passengers were kept on board the carriages for two hours until the train could be moved.

Many floral tributes including a balloon for his 16th birthday have been left on the footbridge along with candles.

In a touching tribute, his mother wrote: “I know how much you wanted to celebrate this birthday. Not how it was supposed to be. Maybe I didn’t say it enough but I was always proud of you. I just wanted you to be happy. Whichever path you took I would always have been there for you.”

His grief-stricken grandparents wrote: “Cannot believe we will never again see your handsome face and hear your beautiful laughter. Never again can we hold you close or see your smile. Our hearts are forever broken but no longer will you feel pain. Soar high with the angels.”

Ellis Murphy-Richards with his mum Natasha
Ellis Murphy-Richards with his mum Natasha

A British Transport Police spokesman said officers were called at 4.44pm and added: “This incident is not being treated as suspicious. A file will be prepared for the coroner.”

Southeastern services between Sittingbourne and Sheerness were halted until 6.40pm and buses introduced for stations including Queenborough, Swale Halt and Kemsley.

A spokesman for North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT), which runs the mental health service at Seashells, said: “We’ve offered our sincere condolences and support to the patient’s family following this tragic incident. We are currently undertaking a review of the care provided.”

For confidential support on an emotional issue, call Samaritans on 116 123 at any time or click here for the website .

If you want to talk to someone confidentially, click here .

Read more: All the latest Sittingbourne news here

Read more: All the latest Sheppey news here

Read more: All the latest Faversham news here

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