A 17-year-old public schoolboy killed himself with his father’s gun just days after he was arrested over a criminal “secret” he had confided in a friend, an inquest has heard.
Christian Mangles, 17, who was known as Kit, had been a boarder at the £35,000 a year Ampleforth College, in North Yorkshire, when he was arrested in June last year.
Kit, who had been considering a career as an Army officer, had told an unnamed friend via Snapchat that if his secret was exposed he would kill himself.
It was brought to the police’s attention however and following his arrest, he was suspended indefinitely by Ampleforth.
The next day the teenager took a 12 bore shotgun from his father’s secure gun cabinet, drove from his home near Whitby, to an isolated beauty spot and shot himself.
North Yorkshire assistant Coroner John Broadbridge told the hearing at County Hall, in Northallerton: “On June 13 he was arrested on matters that I have deemed irrelevant to my enquiry, that’s because they have remained unproven.
“He said it was a secret but he had already shared it with a friend. It was something important to him.”
Detective Sergeant Michael Moorhouse told the inquest that on 10 June a Snapchat exchange between Kit and another person came to their attention, which amounted to a “serious criminal offence” if proven.
Kit had also told the other person that he would take his own life if his “secret” criminal offence ever got out.
In his message, he wrote: “I would find a knife and stab myself in the neck or shotgun, but undecided, stab neck or heart.”
The inquest heard that Kit, who had an older brother and younger sister, had born in Hong Kong and after attending primary school there had been sent to Ampleforth as a boarder.
His father, Edward, who served in the military before he became a consultant in Hong Kong, told the inquest that Kit enjoyed life at Ampleforth and was extremely popular.
The inquest heard that before his arrest he had been serving a suspension from Ampleforth after being caught smoking on school grounds for a third time.
He was using the time away from classes to prepare for an Army Officers Scholarship interview on 17 June.
Mr Mangles told the inquest he owned a number of shotguns for pheasant shooting and Kit was confident with firearms.
He said the weapons where stored in a gun cabinet, which had three locks, which was behind a further cabinet secured with two locks.
Mr Mangles had taken a flight back from Hong Kong when he learned that his son had been arrested, telling the inquest: “I was worried that Kit had been an idiot.”
His wife had left their son watching the World Cup at home when she went to pick up Mr Mangles from York Railway Station.
But when they returned at 8pm their son was not at home.
Mr Mangles noticed a key in the gun cabinet and discovered a 12 bore shotgun was missing. He immediately dialled 999 and alerted the police.
Ampleforth College was also alerted and put into lock down.
His Skoda car was found parked at Blakey Ridge and his body was discovered nearby with gunshot wounds to the head.
Mrs Mangles told the inquest she was unaware Kit had threatened to kill himself on Snapchat.
The coroner said: “In that conversation Kit had told his friend that he had secrets, that if anyone found out ‘I have made the decision to kill myself’.”
The inquest heard police investigations found no evidence to corroborate the allegations against Kit and nothing incriminating was found on his electronic devices.
Recording a verdict of suicide, Mr Broadbridge said Kit made a conscious decision to take a gun and ammunition and drive to a secluded spot and pull the trigger.
Toxicology results found a small amount of alcohol and no drugs in his system.