Rapper's lyrics linked
to fan's suicide
By Richard Savill
A TEENAGER who killed himself by running in
front of a train may have have been influenced by the
"depressing" lyrics of a song by Eminem, the American
rapper, a coroner said yesterday.
The mother of David Hurcombe, 17, nodded in
approval as the coroner criticised the tone of the lyrics, which
contained several references to death. The inquest at Teignmouth,
Devon, heard that a computer print-out with the lyrics from the
one of Eminem's songs formed part of a note which David had
discarded in a waste paper bin in his bedroom.
The note, found by his mother, indicated that
"he did not want to go on living", the inquest heard.
Under the lyrics, the teenager wrote: "Anyway got to go,
miss my train, see ya'll in hell."
The lyrics of Rock Bottom from the singer's The
Slim Shady album, which the student printed out four months
before his death last October, began: "Cause when you die
you know we are all going the same way."
David, who lived in Teignmouth and was studying
electrical servicing at South Devon College, ran in front of a
train after it emerged from Parson's Tunnel in Holcombe. He had
clambered over concrete sea defences to get to the track.
The inquest heard that David had recently been
teased by friends about his sexual orientation after a
homosexual said at a party that he "fancied" him.
Michael Carroll, a friend, said: "David kept asking whether
the comment was serious. He kept referring to whether we all
thought he was homosexual. None of our group of friends thought
he was one, we told him so but it preyed on his mind."
Mr Carroll added that his friend was usually a
happy person. "He was inquisitive and interested in the
meaning of life. He was fascinated with computer and electrical
projects." Two days before his death, the teenager told a
friend he had thought about jumping off a multi-storey car park,
the inquest heard.
David's mother Lynn said the "jokey
comment" about his sexual orientation had worried him. She
added: "He was a happy, sensitive, caring young man who was
no trouble at home and who enjoyed his life." Recording a
verdict of suicide, Hamish Turner, the South Devon coroner,
said: "It seems quite clear from his note and the rather
depressing music and words that he was somewhat depressed.
"He appears to have been unusually worried
about an allegation over his sexual orientation which really
should not affect people a great deal either way, but obviously
he worried about it."
Speaking after the inquest, the coroner said of
the Eminem song: "It struck me as pretty miserable stuff. I
think the references to death are a bit off." Mr Turner
added: "He was obviously a bit affected by this. It's
difficult to say what effect it had on him but I think it is
depressing for any youngster.
"They are not the sort of words that
really mean very much. But they are generally a bit
miserable." Eminem, who has become a cult figure for
disaffected teenagers, has been described as a "parents'
nightmare" for his use of profane and extremely violent
lyrics. His wife tried to kill herself last year.
Mrs Hurcombe and husband Dominic declined to
comment after the inquest.