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Elliott Johnson inquest: Tory activist took own life, coroner rules

Elliott Johnson took his own life after alleging bullying within the Conservative Party Credit: PA

A young Tory activist who made allegations of bullying within the Conservative Party and was later found dead on a railway line after being hit by a train, took his own life, a coroner has ruled.

Elliott Johnson, 21, was found dead on railway tracks in Sandy, Bedfordshire in September last year just weeks after making the allegations.

The proceedings at the inquest in Ampthill, Bedfordshire, focused on the fact the young Tory believed he was being bullied, and on his being made redundant by pressure group Conservative Way Forward (CWF) shortly after making the allegation.

In a detailed complaint, Mr Johnson had accused former Conservative Party activist Mark Clarke of bullying, following an altercation in a pub in central London during which Mr Clarke was alleged to have threatened to "squash" him "like an ant".

Mr Clarke, who has since been expelled from the Conservative party, strongly denies the allegations.

Mr Johnson's father, Ray (right) said his son was caught in a 'victimisation campaign' Credit: PA

On the morning of the day he died, Mr Johnson booked a train ticket online, travelled from Kings Cross to Sandy and walked less than a mile away from the station before being struck by a train.

Police found three letters in his flat in Tooting, south London, after he died, one of which, addressed to his parents, said he felt he had failed at work and politics.

Mr Johnson's father, Ray Johnson, told the inquest that his son was caught up in a "victimisation campaign" said he believed Mr Clarke had "ruined" his son's career.

We were unaware of, at the time, a victimisation campaign by Mr Clarke towards Elliott and other members of the Conservative Way Forward, which was getting steadily worse.

– Ray Johnson

He also said he believed Mark Clarke had told his son's employers of a caution Mr Johnson purportedly received for tweeting election results - even though no record of a caution existed.

At times, the coroner interjected to remind the family's legal team of the scope of the inquest.

"I'm not going to allow this to degenerate into a trial of Mark Clarke," he said.

Mr Johnson's allegations eventually sparked an investigation and the resignation of former party chairman Grant Shapps.