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The Daily Mail
By Amie Gordon For Mailonline
Published: 13:19, 18 December 2017 | Updated: 14:39, 18 December 2017
- Stephen Tindale stepped off the platform at Golders Green Underground Station
- The former executive director of Greenpeace was standing next to his father
- 54-year-old was returning home after visiting his mother Sonia in a care home
- The former boss of Greenpeace stepped in front of a tube after he and his father visited his mother who suffered from dementia, an inquest heard.
Leading environment campaigner Stephen Tindale was standing next to his father Gordon, when he stepped off the platform at Golders Green Underground Station in north London on July 1 this year.
The 54-year-old, who was returning home after visiting his mother Sonia in a care home, died at the scene.
Stephen Tindale died when he stepped off the platform at Golders Green Underground Station in north London on July 1
Mr Tindale, 54, (pictured here in 2011), was a former executive director of Greenpeace
Mr Tindale had battled depression for several years and survived being hit by a train in an earlier suicide bid 11 years ago, the inquest heard.
Mr Tindale was born in Baghdad, Iraq, and much of his early childhood was spent in the Middle East and Africa.
He studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at St Anne’s College, Oxford, then took a master’s in politics and administration at Birkbeck College, London.
He then went to work for Friends of the Earth, the Fabian Society, the Institute for Public Policy Research and was director of the Green Alliance.
He was an influential backroom figure in the Labour Party who helped shape much of their environmental policy under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, before becoming executive director of Greenpeace UK for five years.
The Oxford graduate joined the Foreign Office in 1986, but left to work on environmental issues in 2000.
Heading Greenpeace from 2001 until 2006, Mr Tindale was once arrested during a protest at the Range Rover plant in Solihull, West Midlands, in 2005.
In 2006 he left Greenpeace after an attempt to take his own life and took just over a year to recover.
But the inquest heard he became depressed at being repeatedly turned down from job interviews.
Mr Tindale (pictured with Director of Friends of the Earth, Charles Secrett in 2011), had battled depression for several years and survived being hit by a train in an earlier suicide bid 11 years ago
Mr Tindale had been a voluntary patient at Highgate Mental Health Centre in north London, and was allowed to go out on escorted visits.
He was on a visit in July and was returning to the ward when he stepped in front of the tube train, the inquest was told.
North London Coroners’ Court heard Mr Tindale was responding well to medication in the weeks before his death, but had been depressed by financial difficulties, his mother’s illness and a pending police arson investigation.
Dr Gina Walters from the Highgate Mental Health Centre said: ‘It’s very sad. I have been thinking about this a lot, and whether we could have done anything to prevent it.
The 54-year-old was returning home after visiting his mother in a care home when he died
‘He had a history of really risky behaviours and attempts on his life, but he was willing to stay on the ward and take medication.
‘He had a strong support network. He would often say he felt less suicidal after going out on escorted visits and we don’t want patients to become afraid to leave the hospital.
‘We were starting to see an improvement, but this was a man in his 50s who was high achieving academically and in his work but was worried about a lack of money and not having a home.
‘Before the episode where he set the fire, his mother had Dementia and he failed some job interviews and hadn’t been able to get work.
‘The fire and potential criminal investigation meant he was worried he’d be sent to prison and was focusing so much on that he wasn’t looking at what was really making him depressed.
‘He was saying he was finally ready to go and visit his mother and he went with his father.
‘Although this was a man who was depressed and had a history of risky behaviours it was not predictable that he would have done that on the day he did.
‘I don’t think he left that day intending to take his own life, I think after visiting his mother’s care home he took the opportunity that presented itself.’
The inquest heard Mr Tindale had become physically frail, suffered from dizziness and often walked with the aide of a stick.
Mr Tindale (left) had been depressed by financial difficulties, his mother’s illness and a pending police arson investigation.
Coroner John Taylor read a statement from the tube driver describing the moment he stepped off the platform.
It read: ‘The train was travelling at around 20mph, and there was an older gentleman and someone standing next to him.
‘As the train got very close to the older gentleman the person standing to his right stepped over the edge. I stopped the train immediately.’
A statement from Gordon Tindale says his son was bright, and despite studying at the University of Oxford, had ‘never been strong mentally’.
A post-mortem gave the cause of death as multiple injuries for being ‘overridden by a train’.
Recording a verdict of suicide, Mr Taylor added: ‘It seems there is little evidence this was an accident.
‘The evidence is so strong this was a deliberate act when he stepped out in front of the train.
‘Evidence from witnesses suggests he stood six feet from the edge of the platform before stepping off, therefore in my view he did take his own life.
‘There was little opportunity for the train driver to stop in time. It seems it was the wrong place at the wrong time.’
Mr Tindale was twice married and divorced.
He is survived by the son and daughter of his first marriage, both parents and his sister, Helen, who was the only family member to attend the inquest.