A “POPULAR and genuinely happy” 16-year-old sprinted in front of a train after Facebook comments were made about his relationship with a girl.

Ryan French, of Station Road, Rayleigh, died after being hit by the train on the Southend Victoria to London Liverpool Street line near Ferndale Road, off Hambro Hill on September 18 last year.

Coroner Yvonne Blake gave a narrative verdict on the “sad” death, saying he had been struck by the train and the driver couldn’t stop in time.

The inquest at Southend Magistrates’ Court heard he had been worried about rumours that had been circulating about him and a girl on social media sites.

He had also been close to his grandparents, and his grandfather passed away two months before he died.