Inquest concludes 'quiet and happy' teenager took own life

Connor Hawes of Whittlesey attended Peterborough Regional College

Connor Hawes of Whittlesey was a much-loved teenager who "definitely carved his own way". - Credit: Family/Rachelle Oliver

A “quiet, happy” and much-loved teenager whose body was found on a railway line near his home took his own life, an inquest has concluded.  

The body of 17-year-old Connor Hawes was discovered on the line between March and Whittlesey on September 14, 2020.  

At an inquest held today (Monday), coroner Elizabeth Gray said Connor was due to attend Peterborough Regional College, where he studied, later that day. 

She said the 17-year-old went to bed at around 10.30pm before heading towards the Three Horseshoes pub, Turves the next morning where he approached a railway crossing.  

Ms Gray addressed concerns for Connor’s mental health relating to whether he was a victim of bullying at school and college.  

“Police spoke to a number of staff at Peterborough Regional College (PRC) in relation to Connor’s behaviour and of other students after suggestions he was being bullied,” said Ms Gray.  

“Despite the claims, a police investigation failed to get any evidence of this.  

“There have been allegations at some point, perhaps at secondary school but not at college.”  

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Ms Gray added that staff at PRC found Connor to be “quiet, happy and appeared to be enjoying college” before the Covid-19 lockdown two years ago.  

She said many members of staff at the college gave “wonderful accounts” of Connor during his time there.  

Connor’s mum, Rachelle Oliver, told the inquest: “He definitely carved his own way and was a unique character.”  

Ms Gray concluded that Connor was a positive person who was working towards a career as a chef.  

She told Connor’s family: “You have shared such love and care for Connor, and it’s clear he was very well-loved from a caring and loving family.”  

In September 2020, tributes poured in on social media after Connor died, and a number of fundraising events were planned after his funeral in October that year.  

Rachelle also launched the Facebook group ‘In memory of Connor Lee Hawes 2003-2020’ to share memories of her son.  

At the time, Connor’s stepfather Matt Chapman said the popular teenager was “the quiet one growing up.  

“He didn’t have many friends, but what he did have was a big heart.   

“He was always a funny little chap; that’s the Connor I knew and loved.”