Track death was suicide

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A LANCASTER man with a history of mental illness committed suicide by standing in front of an express train, an inquest heard.

Richard Duffy, of Goodward Road in Lancaster, was killed instantly by the train on January 5.

An inquest held in Lancaster last week heard he had deliberately climbed over the barriers at Hest Bank level crossing in order to take his own life.

Mr Duffy's father, John, told the inquest that his son had a history of mental illness stretching back many years. He had received treatment at Ridge Lea hospital and had once been sectioned.

On several occasions he had also attempted to take his own life; once by connecting a hose pipe to the exhaust of his car and later by taking an overdose.

Mr Duffy voluntarily admitted himself to the Westmorland General Hos-pital in Kendal on November 5 last year for treatment.

His psychologist, Dr Patricia Thom-as, told the inquest he was suffering from severe depression and had suicidal tendencies.

He was given medication to control his depression but, although it seemed under control, he felt it difficult to make the changes needed to resolve the underlying problems of his illness.

On January 4 Mr Duffy disappeared from the hospital ward and did not return.

The following day he was seen by Albert Greenwood next to the railway track at Hest Bank.

Mr Greenwood watched as Mr Duffy waited for the barriers to come down.

He then "nipped over" and stood on the track.

After his death nursing staff collected his effects and found a long letter, in which he declared his intention to kill himself.

Deputy coroner, Derek Baker, said it was clear Mr Duffy had intended to kill himself and recorded a verdict of suicide.

Mr Baker also praised Mr Duffy's family for the help they had tried to give him while he struggled with his mental illness.