Witham railway jumper said “It’s a lovely day isn’t it?” to a stranger moments before her death — (Essex Chronicle)

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The Essex Chronicle

By Essex Chronicle

Posted: February 25, 2015

A PREGNANT woman suffering from anxiety and depression said “it’s a lovely day isn’t it?” to a stranger moments before stepping in front of a train, an inquest heard this week.

Joanne Norris was a month away from giving birth to her second child when she drove from Clacton to Witham railway station on March 16 last year.

She had been shopping with her husband, Jeff, and four-year-old daughter, Lily, and said she was going to Tesco to get food for dinner.

At Witham, she spoke to station worker William Meston and asked him for a cigarette lighter.

The 28-year-old, who was 35 weeks pregnant, sat on a bench next to passenger going to London for a music concert when she told him, “it’s a nice day isn’t it?”

He replied: “Yes, I hope the summer is like this”.

She then took off her cardigan and walked into the path of the 2.46pm Marks Tey to Liverpool Street train.

Emergency services pronounced her dead at the scene.

A post-mortem found that the cause of death was from multiple injuries and a small dose of anti-depressants were found in her blood.

The teaching assistant from Clacton had suffered from anxiety and depression from the age of 17 and was on a drug called venlafaxine to battle the condition.

On April 21, her GP advised she stop taking the antidepressant for fear it could harm her unborn child, and she was prescribed diazepam after complaining of constant sickness.

Mrs Norris was later put back on the venlafaxine but on a lower dose by a different GP because she was feeling anxious and that “she couldn’t cope with life”.

An inquest into her death conducted by coroner Michelle Brown, at County Hall, Chelmsford on Tuesday heard Mrs Norris declined an opportunity to be referred to Health In Mind mental health service.

Only moments before her death she texted her husband, Jeff, telling him: “I love you and Lily with all my heart, it’s not your fault I’m like this, I can’t cope anymore, I’m sorry.”

Mr Norris could not get through to her and so called the police, but it was too late as they were already on their way to his house to tell him what had happened.

In a statement to the court Mr Norris said: “She was a beautiful wife and fantastic mother. I’m totally devastated, if I knew she had suicidal thoughts I would not have let her out of my sight.”

At an appointment with her midwife, Anne Lines, a week before her death, she was tearful and told the midwife that she was not coping.

On the day she died Joanne telephoned the crisis team in the morning and spoke to a community psychiatric nurse.  She told her that she had been thinking about jumping in front of a train. The nurse arranged to visit her at home later that day, but before the nurse arrived Joanne jumped to her death.

Giving her verdict of suicide, coroner Ms Brown said: “Opportunities have been missed in respect of the initial referral to the hospital from the GP practice.

“Adequate records made in the GP’s surgery and there was insufficient evidence to say whether restarting the medication contributed to her death and whether diazepam was prescribed for sickness or for anxiety.

“But these were clinical decisions made by medical professionals.

“Mrs Norris was clearly unwell, but free to make her own decisions and her husband, who she shared her life with, had no knowledge of her feelings.

“Evidence from the witnesses at the railway station and the text messages sent to her husband I’m satisfied it was her intention to take her own life.”

The inquest of another woman, 53-year-old Lorraine Sands, of Elderberry Gardens, Witham, who died at Chelmsford train station on July 8 last year, also begun today (Wednesday, February 25).