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Rapper's lyrics linked to fan's suicide
By Richard Savill
(Filed: 24/01/2001)

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.

External links  
Eminem lyrics, 'Rock Bottom' - A-Z Lyrics