First Posted on Antidepaware.co.uk
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By Arthur Martin
Published: 10:25 GMT, 22 March 2013 | Updated: 11:47 GMT, 23 March 2013
- Mother Donna Oettinger and her son Zackary, three, both killed in tragedy
- Incident happened at Riddlesdown rail station in Purley, Croydon
- In months before tragedy she wrote on Facebook she had anxiety attacks
A distraught mother who died with her three-year-old son after dragging him underneath a train, wrote a series of harrowing messages in which she told how she was ‘so scared I don’t know who I am any more’.
Donna Oettinger, 41, had taken blond-haired Zaki to the railway station at the end of her road during the morning rush hour. The little boy only celebrated his third birthday a week ago.
In another of the internet messages, Oettinger, who suffered anxiety attacks and depression, wrote: ‘Thank God I have my son Zaki. I owe him a lot when I get better. Love you son with all my heart xxx’.
Miss Oettinger, who worked for a haulage company, was understood to have been suffering from severe depression.
And in another she said: ‘Feeling so depressed. Dread waking up.’ She added: ‘Feeling so depressed with this f****** severe anxiety. Dread waking up.
‘The tragedy took place at Riddlesdown Station near Purley, in Surrey. One rail worker, who did not want to be named, said the driver was in a state of shock.
The mother and son were killed when they were hit by the train. Passengers were ordered to stay in their carriages for more than 90 minutes after the double fatality. Commuter Paul Camlett, 38, said: ‘I had just arrived at the station when the station master rounded everyone up and ordered them off the platform. ‘I’m in complete shock. People were crying.’
Last night detectives were searching Miss Oettinger’s house, which is 300 yards from the station.
One neighbour said: ‘I heard about two fatalities on the radio this morning but I had no idea it was them. Poor Zaki. I’ve only just moved in but I have seen the mother a few times. Zaki was such a sweet little boy. Always so happy.
‘I saw her just yesterday, I’m a child-minder and she saw me with two screaming children – she looked at me with pity.
‘She was always rushing around with him. Last time I saw her his blanket was hanging down, I told her because it was getting dirty.
‘It’s a real tragedy. To hear this I’m just in shock.’ Miss Oettinger was understood to have lived with her mother Carol. Last night her relatives were too upset to talk about their loss.
Zaki’s father Mohamed Nasr is understood to be an Egyptian who lives in Sharm el Sheikh. Other messages on Facebook written by Miss Oettinger indicate she was suffering from panic attacks.
In October she wrote: ‘Thank God I have my son Zaki. I owe him a lot when I get better. Love you son with all my heart x.’
Detective Chief Inspector Iain Miller, of British Transport Police, said: ‘Officers are continuing to work to establish the full circumstances surrounding the incident although early indications show that no one else was believed to have been involved.’
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Purley rail deaths: Mum hurls herself in front of train dragging toddler son with her
By Euan Stretch
Mar 23, 2013
A bleak picture of Donna Oettinger’s tortured mental state in the months leading up to her railway death leap with toddler son Zaki emerged last night through a string of her online posts.
The tragic 41-year-old told how she was crippled by severe depression and anxiety and would have killed herself sooner if it had not been for her boy.
Donna’s despair was so deep she revealed she even hated the thought of waking up each day.
One comment did carry a faint glimmer of hope that her mental state might improve.
But yesterday, it appears the demons tormenting her finally made her snap and Donna hurled herself in front of a speeding express train, dragging her beloved three-year-old son with her.
In October, Donna spoke on Facebook of how her life was shrouded in gloom.
She wrote: “Feeling so depressed with this f****** severe anxiety dread waking up. Panic attacks all day long can’t stand this anymore. Thank God I have my son Zaki I owe him a lot when I get better love you son with all my heart xxx.”
But that hope seemed brief as she added: “Lost been on so many diff tablets and off cause of side effects so scared don’t know who I am anymore.
“I won’t leave the house on some new meds wish I could turn the clock back a year if I knew this was coming I would have left this world it’s only because of zaki I am here x.”
Signs of Donna’s precarious emotional state surfaced in August on Facebook when she posted: “Haven’t been well now for three months with all this anxiety been hell needed to make changes in my life.
“I look awful lost so much weight, aged 20 years frightened to see anyone at mo xx.”
At Christmas she posted: “I hope and pray there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
Days before her death, troubled Donna had an emotional online exchange with her sister Emma.
She wrote: “Hope ur ok love you loads xx.”
Emma replied: “I am only ok when you are. Love u more than life.”
Donna, who had been on anti-depressant drug Sertraline, pledged, “I will try my hardest for you”.
On March 6, she wrote: “I have had the best times with you.” Emma, of Croydon, South London, replied: “And the best times to come.”
But yesterday, Donna walked 300 yards from her home in Riddlesdown, South London, to her local train station with little Zaki – whose dad is understood to be an Egyptian called Mohamed Nasr – and ended both their lives.
The pair were killed instantly at 8.29am after she leapt in front of a 60mph packed commuter service from Uckfield, East Sussex, to London. The train driver was said to be suffering shock.
He told a colleague about the horrifying incident, who said: “She jumped pulling the kid with her. He is pretty shook up.”
The case was so upsetting an experienced senior officer broke down in tears as he outlined details to reporters.
Speaking outside Donna’s home, Detective Chief Inspector Iain Miller said her family were too heartbroken to comment.
But he added: “This is all so, so sad and devastating for them.”
British Transport Police are treating the deaths as a murder and suicide.
A spokeswoman said: “I can confirm the woman and child who died at Riddlesdown rail station have been named as Donna Oettinger and her son Zachary. The boy only turned three last weekend.”
Police were last night trying to contact Mohamed, who lives abroad.
Recently he sent Donna a Facebook message, saying, “You make me worry.”
Neighbours yesterday said Donna, who worked at Transcar Projects in Sidcup, South East London. She and Zaki lived with her mum Carol.
Paying tribute to the tragic child, who was signed up to a model agency on his first birthday, one neighbour added: “Zaki, such a sweet boy. Always so happy. It’s a tragedy.”
Another told how Donna was a private person. She added: “She’d always say hello, but not much more.”
The tragedy sparked severe rail disruption after the line was shut all morning.
Sertraline is a popular choice of drug among doctors as it is thought to cause fewer side-effects than other anti-depressants.
However, there are fears it can actually worsen the moods of those prescribed it.