'Great dad' fought depression battle — (The Sentinel)

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The Sentinel

Posted: June 22, 2013

By dave knapper

A FATHER-OF-FOUR took his own life after a long battle with mental health problems, an inquest heard.

Computer engineer Mark Watts died instantly as he was hit by a train, which was travelling in excess of 100mph.

Yesterday North Staffordshire Coroner’s Court heard that the 50-year-old had previously been diagnosed with depression and bipolar disorder.

Mr Watts, who lived on Baltic Close, in Trentham, had been prescribed various courses of medication and had also been treated at specialist facilities including the Harplands Hospital.

His widow, Jacqueline Watts, said despite his problems he always remained dedicated to his four children.

Mrs Watts told the inquest that on September 5 last year, the couple had enjoyed a normal morning.

She said: “We had breakfast and he said he was going to go back to bed.

“He gave me a kiss and said ‘I’ll be here when you get back’, which was something he would always say.

“Before I left we talked about him getting some more help and he agreed to it.

“On the Monday he had been for some acupuncture to try to help him.”

Mrs Watts left for work at around 10.45am before returning in the afternoon to find a police car outside the family home.

Train driver Steven Brown was working on the London to Manchester train, which passes through Stoke-on-Trent, when he spotted a figure approaching the tracks by a bridge off Trentham’s Longton Road.

In his statement Mr Brown, a train driver of 32 years, said: “As I approached the bridge I could see a person appear from the north side of the bridge.

“I recognised it was a male and at that point the train was travelling at 110 miles per hour.

“The person looked at the train and lay across the rails. I sounded the horn and applied the emergency brakes.”

He added: “I knew it would hit him as the stopping distance is three-quarters-of-a-mile.”

Officers from the Staffordshire force and British Transport Police attended the scene at around 1pm.

They identified Mr Watt’s after finding a photo pass for Trentham Gardens.

Mrs Watts said: “We were so happy. We had paid the mortgage off, enjoyed holidays and he had a lovely car.

“He was a great dad and would always sit down with the children to help them with homework.”

Coroner Ian Smith recorded a verdict that Mr Watts had killed himself.