Family of student who jumped from St Paul’s not told he missed two months of uni

JJ De Sousa Stayton’s family said he had ‘slipped under the radar’ with uni

The family of a student who died by suicide after jumping from a gallery in St Paul’s Cathedral say his university didn’t tell them he hadn’t been to lectures for two months.

James Jorge De Sousa Stayton’s family say the Queen Mary student “slipped under the radar” before his death in April 2019, and that they would have been able to help him had they known about his situation.

A coroner recorded a verdict of suicide in the death of De Sousa Stayton, who fell 100 feet from St Paul’s Whispering Gallery.

Alex De Sousa, his mother, told the Evening Standard: “We were totally oblivious to the fact that JJ was no longer a student there, and would have acted immediately if we had known. When does the need for student confidentiality end and their wellbeing begin?”

A recent Tab investigation found Queen Mary is among the 55 per cent of unis who don’t know how many of their students are dying by suicide.

Duncan, his father, said: “JJ was given an unconditional offer to attend the university but only achieved a D grade in his chosen subject of history at A-level. He was passionate about history and a wonderful, charismatic speaker but he didn’t have the skills to write long essays. In those situations, universities need someone to mentor and support the students.”

After pressure from the parents of Bristol student Ben Murray, who didn’t know their son was struggling before he died by suicide, the University of Bristol introduced a system to contact students’ parents about mental health issues. 93 per cent of students opted in to the scheme, which was used 36 times in 2018/19.

The coroner in De Sousa Stayton’s case, Alison Hewitt, is deciding whether to submit a report with recommendations on how to avoid future deaths.

A Queen Mary spokesperson said: “The death of our former student James Jorge De Sousa Stayton was incredibly sad and our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

“We will reflect very carefully on the recommendations of the report from the hearing when it is issued.”

Anyone can contact Samaritans FREE any time from any phone on 116 123, even a mobile without credit. This number won’t show up on your phone bill. Or you can email [email protected] or visit to find details of your nearest branch, where you can talk to one of their trained volunteers face to face.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

Report: The unis who don’t know how many of their students are dying by suicide

93 per cent of new Bristol students opt-in to mental health scheme

Bristol kicked student out by email and letter weeks before he died by suicide

Featured image: SWNS