Portsmouth man who escaped Taliban twice died by suicide on A27, inquest hears

A ‘shy and quiet’ man who escaped the Taliban twice in Afghanistan took his own life on the A27 last year, an inquest ruled.
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An inquest into his death, held at Portsmouth Coroner’s Court on May 11, found that Mr Khan entered the road ‘deliberately’ after years of suffering anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Reshad Khan, 29, of Somers Road, Southsea, died on the A27 westbound towards Hilsea.Reshad Khan, 29, of Somers Road, Southsea, died on the A27 westbound towards Hilsea.
Reshad Khan, 29, of Somers Road, Southsea, died on the A27 westbound towards Hilsea.
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Born in Afghanistan, Mr Khan moved to Portsmouth when he was 13 years old in a bid to escape the Taliban conflict. Living with his mother and brother, he studied at Miltoncross Academy and later obtained his GCSEs while at college.

The inquest heard that Mr Khan struggled with his mental health – which worsened after returning to Afghanistan in 2021 to reunite with his wife Lima, only to flee the Taliban once again when Kabul was seized.

Written evidence from his family described him as someone who had seen ‘a huge amount of trauma’ and explained that his mental health continued to deteriorate to the point where he would not even leave their house in Southsea. Through the Lighthouse Group Practice, he was referred to Talking Change and crisis management teams, but they considered Mr Khan to be of ‘low risk’ to himself and others.

On the evening of August 31, Mr Khan was seen walking through Hilsea, before walking on to the A27 across the hard shoulder and ‘diving’ in front of a Mercedes-Benz large goods vehicle (LGV).

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Molly Deacon, who was driving behind the LGV, gave a written submission to the court.

She said: ‘I was on my way back from an appointment in Waterlooville, and was slowing down to come off at Cosham. A white, medium-sized van was about a car and a half in front of me.

‘All I remember is seeing a white trainer come out of nowhere – they were running so fast so I can only imagine they had come through the bushes, and then run in front of the van. We pulled over but I could not face seeing what was going on.’

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary’s criminal investigations team determined that the driver was ‘unable to avoid a collision’ and was not at fault. A post-mortem also found no alcohol or illegal substances in Mr Khan’s system.

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At the end of the inquest, senior coroner Christopher Wilkinson recorded a conclusion of suicide.

He said: ‘It seems in simple terms Mr Khan has presented from the nearside hedgerow and then dove into the carriageway, in front of a lorry.

‘I suspect there were a number of factors troubling him that he wasn’t discussing with family members or mental health experts. It’s the only explanation that correlates with his presentation on the A27 after leaving the family home that afternoon.

‘No other contributing factors were involved – this was a sudden and unexpected death but, on the balance of probabilities, not accidental. I extend my very sincere condolences to the family for Mr Khan’s death.’

Anyone can contact Samaritans for free any time from any phone on 116 123, even a mobile without credit; you can also email [email protected] or visit samaritans.org.