Pensioner's rail death 'suicide'

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A VERDICT of suicide was recorded at the inquest of an elderly Bispham man, who was hit by a train at Layton station.

Yesterday’s inquest at Blackpool Town Hall heard how John Gillibrand, 70, of Devonshire Road, threw himself in front of the 8.33am passenger train from Manchester to Blackpool North on June 23.

The jury of six women and four men heard evidence from the driver of the First North Western train, Neil Prentice, who said a man appeared to jump onto the track as he approached the station.

The train, which had stopped at Poulton Station but was continuing through Layton without stopping, was estimated to be travelling at 60mph. Deputy Fylde Coroner Anne Hind heard how Mr Gillibrand, still a working racecourse bookmaker, had visited his doctor suffering from depression and was on antidepressant tablets.

His problems began after new technology had been introduced into his workplace and he was finding it difficult to cope with the changes.

Dr Mark Sissons, the consultant pathologist who carried out the post mortem, said Mr Gillibrand died instantaneously from severe multiple injuries.

Another witness, a local man who was with his eight-year-old son at the time, said he spoke to Mr Gillibrand just before the incident. He had asked when the next train was due and then went on to comment on the weather.

It was not known why Mr Gillibrand, who had left his wife Freda at their home that morning saying he was visiting a friend in Bispham, ended up at Layton station. The jury unanimously agreed Mr Gillibrand had killed himself while the balance of his mind was disturbed.

Coroner Mrs Hind said: “We have heard a very sad tale. I was very touched by Mrs Gillibrand telling us about her late husband. Clearly they were so very, very happy but he was taken over by events. He knew his job but the job changed and he found it very difficult to adapt. As a result he had changed and become very frustrated and that led to depression.”