Depressed man ‘wrestling with mental health’ before railway suicide

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Patrick Norum
Patrick Norum’s inquest was held at the coroner’s court in Winchester

A DEPRESSED man who was killed by a train sent a text message to his mother moments before, saying: “I can’t bear it anymore”.

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Patrick Norum (30), who had recently moved from Lyndhurst to Christchurch, died on 16th July near Ashurst.

Winchester Coroner’s Court heard how the Lyndhurst FC footballer had struggled with depression since 2017 but had been reluctant to take antidepressants which had been prescribed to him.

However, he had undergone treatment in the form of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and counselling after being referred by his GP.

A statement from Mr Norum’s former employer, Mark Barber, said he was aware of his mental health struggles. He described him as “funny and outgoing” but said he had become more anxious, reserved and low over the last two years.

The court heard how last November he had split with his girlfriend and although they had attempted to reconcile over the summer, things had not worked and Mr Norum had blamed himself.

Mr Barber said he had contacted police on 10th July after Mr Norum failed to arrive at work. He was classed as a high-risk missing person but was found the following morning as he returned to his home address.

He told officers that he driven to Itchen Bridge in Southampton with the intention of jumping off, but after four hours he had decided against it.

He refused to be taken to hospital and instead spoke to the local mental health crisis team over the phone while the officers were present, who then deemed him safe to be left.

Train driver Matthew Birkin said in a statement that he was approaching Totton at around 11.55am when he suddenly saw a man emerge from the undergrowth beside the tracks just before the collision.

Pathologist Dr Jeffrey Theaker gave the cause of death as multiple injuries.

Insp. Mark Stook from British Transport Police said in a statement that Mr Norum’s work van was found 100 yards away. On the front passenger seat was a handwritten note which said: “Driver has jumped. Please call police”.

It also gave his mother’s name and contact details.

Inside his van was also a note for his young daughter in which he said he was “in the darkest of places” and that she was better off without him.

The inquest was attended by two of Mr Norum’s brothers who told the court he had “been dipping in and out” when it came to seeking and accepting support from medical professionals.

They said he had visited his family, who had been very supportive during his ill-health, a few days before he died and appeared “very distant”.

His text message to mother Mary sent moments before he died said: “I’m so sorry mum. I’ve let everyone down. I can’t bear it anymore. I’ve let the very worst bits of me win. I’ve lost a grip on reality – it’s a never-ending nightmare.”

Reaching a conclusion that Mr Norum took his own life, coroner Christopher Wilson said: “It is very clear that Patrick had been wrestling with his mental health. His break-up had a significant impact on him and [by July] he went in to an element of decline.

“He was ruminating on past events and relationships and became stuck in a downward thought spiral.”

Following his death tributes were paid to the Saints fan by his teammates at Lyndhurst FC. A post on its Facebook page said: “RIP Paddy you will be missed, from all new and old players of Lyndhurst FC.”

The Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or at www.samaritans.org.

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