Death of Budleigh man who stepped in front of a train was suicide, inquest heard.

PUBLISHED: 17:00 07 January 2020 | UPDATED: 12:44 08 January 2020

County Hall. Ref exe 04-17 5978. Picture: Terry Ife

County Hall. Ref exe 04-17 5978. Picture: Terry Ife


An ambulance technician from Budleigh Salterton who stepped in front of a moving train in Exmouth intended to end his life, an inquest heard.

Stuart Hewett, 46, died after putting himself in front of a train at a crossing near Exmouth Station on May 15, 2019.

An inquest on Tuesday, January 7, heard that the cause of death was given as multiple injuries.

Sitting at County Hall, in Exeter, coroner Philip Spinney recorded a verdict of suicide.

He said: "It is clear from the evidence that the actions of stepping forward into the path of a train, was more likely than not, a deliberate act."

The inquest heard that Mr Hewett, a technician at Exmouth's ambulance station for the last six years, had a low mood three days prior to his death.

After concerns were raised by his colleagues, he agreed to seek the advice of his GP Dr Helen Parks on May 14, who diagnosed him with depression.

In a statement read out at the inquest, Dr Parks said Mr Hewett complained of feeling anxious but denied self-harming.

The inquest heard how on May 15, South Western Ambulance Service Trust (SWAST) colleagues received a call from Mr Hewett asking them who was on duty in Exmouth that day.

Keith Butler, duty operations officer at SWAST, said he spoke to Mr Hewett over the phone and could hear a train in the background.

A statement from train driver Albert West said he was driving out of Exmouth towards Exeter, building up to the speed limit of 50 miles per hour, ahead of the first stop at Lympstone Village.

As he approached the East Devon Way crossing near the Exe Estuary Trail footpath, he noticed someone close to the tracks.

Despite sounding the train's horn, the man stepped towards the train tracks and put himself in front of the vehicle.

The inquest was told that PC Dave Evans identified the man as Mr Hewett.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

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