A woman whose brother took his own life at the age of 17 has stated in a BBC documentary that he became a “shell of his former self” after being falsely accused of rape.
In the spring of 2015, sixth form student Jay Cheshire, of Southampton, was left “distraught” when he was falsely accused of rape.
Although the police investigation was withdrawn after two weeks due to the girl dropping the charges, Jay had already “spiralled completely” out of control.
Camellia, his older sister, said in the BBC documentary I Am Not A Rapist: “I don’t think I’ve ever really seen a boy bellow and cry and just be as distraught as he was.
“It was like he’d had his soul ripped away.”
Following the accusations being dropped, the 17-year-old took his own life.
His sister said: “He’d bought his favourite energy drink, his favourite bag of crisps, and a length of rope.
“He was found by a dog walker… It was a tree we used to play on when we were younger.”
I Am Not A Rapist tells three powerful and dramatic true life stories of three men who have been falsely accused of rape. The documentary explores the consequences of the allegations and how it has affected their lives.
At the time of the allegations, Jay had been a sixth form student at Bitterne Park School. He studied English Literature, Geography and Film Studies. He had been planning to go to university and study history.
Describing her brother, Camellia said: “Jay was a gentleman from the get-go. He was sweet, intelligent and wildly capable of anything.”
The ordeal began on one night in the spring of 2015 when Jay returned home looking “distraught” after an incident with a girl.
Camellia explained: “Jay said they were involved in foreplay, he was laying next to her and he’d gotten on top of her and she just froze.
“He sat back and kept asking her again and again: ‘What’s the matter? What’s wrong? Have I done something wrong?’ And she said that she wanted him to go home.”
Determined to get some answers, Camellia phoned up the girl and put the call on loudspeaker so that Jay could listen.
“She [the girl] answered the phone and I said ‘hi’ and she said ‘hi’. Her mother grabbed the phone off her and said they’ve put in a rape allegation. [She said] ‘I’m going to f****** get him done’.”
Horrified, Jay rang up the police himself as he wanted to find out further information about what had been said. He was informed that there had been a complaint made against him. The teenager then agreed to go to the police station and undergo voluntary questioning.
However, the duty solicitor advised Jay that he should try and refrain from answering the police officer’s questions as he believed that the girl’s original statement was full of inconsistencies and “there was nothing there”.
As her brother was a minor, Camellia was allowed to accompany her brother.
Describing the question, Jay’s sister said: “When the police officer came in, she was all guns blazing. She didn’t hold back.
“‘Did you rape her? Did you force her? Did you penetrate her?’ The way she was wording the things she was saying, it made Jay want to answer. The more times he said ‘no comment’ when he wanted to answer these questions. The more the tears were streaming. I could feel him shaking under my hand. He was treated like a criminal. And I thought, ‘Look at him, he’s a boy’.”
Jay was then released whilst under investigation.
Recalling the difficult period, Camellia said: “Jay, from that moment, was just a shell of a person.
“I don’t think I’ve ever really seen a boy bellow and cry and just be as distraught as he was. It was like he’d had his soul ripped away.”
When two weeks had passed, the family was informed that Jay would no longer be under investigation as the allegations had been dropped. Yet Camellia believes that the damage was already done.
She continued: “By this point, he had spiralled completely. To be branded with something like that, if you haven’t done it, it’s a big thing. We were all very, very distraught.”
On the day of Jay’s death, Camellia had been at home with her mum when the police knocked at the door. They informed the pair that Jay had been found.
Breaking down as she remembered the horrific night, Camellia recalled: “We get a knock on the door and my Mum screams up to me upstairs and she says ‘Jay’s hung himself Camellia, we need to get our clothes on and we need to go to hospital’.
“The police officer told us he’d bought his favourite energy drink, his favourite bag of crisps, and a length of rope. He was found by a dog walker. They called the police and they cut him down. It was a tree we used to play on when we were younger.
“They managed to revive him and get a heartbeat but he’d sustained so much brain damage that he wasn’t there anymore. He was 17 and he died on the 5 July 2015.”
An inquest at Winchester Coroners Court, Hampshire, it was heard how Jay had been struggling to cope following the false accusations and had been “absolutely distaught”.
The court was then told how the teenager had often experienced low moods and had been prescribed anti-depressants. He was due to undergo cognitive behavior therapy (CBT).
Since the age of 13, Jay had been seeing a psychiatrist but by March 2015, his mental health had greatly improved. This had led to doctors agreeing that it was no longer urgent for him to have CBT.
Yet in May, following the accusations, Jay’s family contacted the doctors to let them know that he was once again undergoing pressure.
Just a week before Jay died, he had informed psychiatrists at the Orchard Centre in Southhampton that the investigation was over and he was hoping to find work.
Central Hampshire senior coroner Grahame Short recorded a verdict of suicide and said that the teenager had been struggling to cope with the false accusations and investigation.
I Am Not A Rapist is available to watch iPlayer.
Featured Image Credit: BBC