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Man had ‘fear of growing old’

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A man who walked in front of an express train may have done so because he feared growing old, an inquest heard.

Stephen Child, 49, was hit by the Kings Cross to Newcastle train when walking over a passenger crossing north of Biggleswade on August 4, Ampthill Coroner’s Court heard.

Senior Coroner Tom Osborne told the court that Mr Child, known as Steve, had written letters and notes saying that he did not want to grow old.

Mr Child, of the Baulk, Biggleswade, had also told friends that he had written his will and did not want a funeral when he died, Mr Osborne said.

A note had also been found at the scene where he said he was intending to take his own life.

Gary Mathias, coroner’s liaison officer at the British Transport Police told the court about the train driver’s account of what happened.

The driver of the train applied his emergency brakes and sounded his horn when he saw Mr Child making his way over passenger crossing 42 by the common just before 7pm, he said.

But Mr Child, a carpenter, had made no attempt to run out of the way or avoid the train, which was travelling at 125mph and was unable to stop in time.

His death was later attributed to multiple injuries.

A close friend of Mr Child, who attended the hearing on Wednesday (December 4), said the two had met for a coffee on the day that he died.

He told the court: “He did seem a bit preoccupied and distracted. When I look back it seems that he wasn’t quite his usual self.

“We would meet up quite often and when we said goodbye he would usually say ‘see you later’, whether we were meeting the next day or a few days later. But that day he just said ‘see you’.”

Another friend who attended said that Mr Child – a kind and generous man who would always put his friends and loved ones first – had not told his friends that he was experiencing any major problems or difficulties in his life, though he had recently split up with his girlfriend.

She said: “We would of course have done anything we could to help him.”

Paying tribute to Mr Child, she said he would always look out for those close to him.

She added: “There was one occasion when I was at Addenbrooke’s Hospital and I couldn’t get home. Steve thought nothing of driving up to Cambridge, finding me and then taking me home.”

Mr Osborne said that due to the existence of the different letters and notes that Mr Child had left, he could only reach the verdict that he had taken his own life.

 

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