Ironville bricklayer stepped into path of train while jogging

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An Ironville bricklayer who stepped into the path of a train while out jogging was suffering from depression, an inquest was told on Friday.

Tracey Connor, who had known husband David since she was a 13-year-old pupil at Swanwick comprehensive school, told police he had tried to help his father cope with the death of his mother.

He was subsequently hit hard by his father’s death and then she herself had treatment for cancer, and he started to suffer from depression.

Mr Connor (45) was employed by the county council but he was off work at the time of his death, on 15th June last year.

The father-of-two went out for his daily jog and walked into the path of a train near Station Road, Ironville, at around 4pm.

Philip Atkinson, who was driving the train from Nottingham to Liverpool, stated that he saw a man emerge from bushes to his left as he approached a bend at 70mph.

“He appeared to check for a second and then moved towards the train. I sounded the warning horn and looked at his face, which appeared to show no shock, and I hit the emergency brakes,” said Mr Atkinson, who has been off work and having counselling since the incident.

“I constantly have flashbacks to the incident and my sleep pattern has been adversely affected.”

Mr Connor, of Monument Lane, Codnor Park, Ironville, died immediately from multiple injuries.

He was indentified by a tattoo of a dagger through a heart inscribed with the name Dav, his nickname, on his left arm.

Post-mortem tests showed he had not taken one of two prescribed medications on the day he died and possibly not the previous day.

The Chesterfield inquest was told that Mr Connor seemed in better health when he saw his GP last May.

His sleep had improved, he was jogging again and he had dismissed the ‘dark thoughts’ he had earlier.

A psychiatrist believed his depression was in remission and he would soon be able to return to work. His condition was to be reviewed after two months.

Pc Richard Kane, of British Transport Police, said Mr Connor was not known to have left a suicide note, adding: “There was nothing to indicate what he was going to do.”

Deputy North Derbyshire Coroner Nigel Anderson said the train driver’s evidence indicated the collision was not an accident but there was insufficient evidence to record a suicide verdict.

Mr Anderson gave a narrative verdict, saying: “As far as the family were concerned he had just gone out for his usual daily jog. He appeared to be fully aware of the oncoming train and he was killed by the train.

“He had been suffering depression but, in the weeks prior to the incident, he appeared to become substantially better. His intention remains unclear.”