Suicide verdict over man's level-crossing death
Thursday, March 05, 2009, 07:30
A VERDICT of suicide has been returned on the death of a man whose car was hit by a train on a railway crossing.
A jury of 10 people at Derby Coroner's Court yesterday unanimously agreed that Ian Hakes, of Burton, took his own life while the balance of his mind was temporarily disturbed.
During the two-day hearing, the inquest was told how the 43-year-old threatened to kill himself in the months before his death on the crossing in Marston on Dove.
He was arrested by police four times and assessed under the Mental Health Act, but was not considered ill enough to be sectioned.
Giving evidence, consultant psychiatrist Dr Nitin Gupta, of South Staffordshire and Shropshire NHS Foundation Trust, said Mr Hakes' suicide threats came when he had been drinking.
Dr Pravir Sharma, a consultant psychiatrist from Birmingham, who assessed Mr Hakes at Burton Police Station after his arrest on April 10, told the court: "He had a history of depression and had been on anti-depressants for several months. But at the time of our assessment there were no symptoms clearly showing a depressed mental state."
The inquest heard how Mr Hakes had become dependent on alcohol after losing his job.
His sister, Donna Hakes, told the inquest that her brother, of Ruskin Place, had feared he would be jailed for possession of an imitation firearm following an incident in Burton in November 2007.
He was due to appear at Stafford Crown Court for the offence two days after he died in May last year.
At the time of his death, Mr Hakes was almost four times the drink-drive limit.
In a statement released after the verdict, a spokesman for South Staffordshire and Shropshire NHS Foundation Trust said: "The trust carried out an investigation and submitted a Serious Untoward Incident Report to the coroner.
"The coroner has commended the trust for the comprehensiveness of the report and has indicated he is not planning to make any recommendations for action."