Train death was ‘completely out of character’ for Wick father

The crossing close to where Simon McLeavy died on June 1 this year
The crossing close to where Simon McLeavy died on June 1 this year

A Wick father took his own life in an act that was ‘completely out of character’ for him, an inquest has heard.

Simon McLeavy, 58, died when he was struck by a train close to the Toddington Lane level crossing close to where he lived on June 1 this year.

An inquest heard that physical health problems forced him to give up work he ‘loved’ as a hospital nursing assistant and that he struggled to cope while his wife, daughter and step-son were away following the death of a family member.

In a statement, read out by coroner Christopher Wilkinson at an inquest in Worthing on Thursday, step-son Felice Granziano said: “Simon had been working as a nursing assistant, he loved his job, his colleagues and was based at Woking Hospital.

“He used to spend long hours on his feet which eventually affected his health.”

Mr Granziano said Mr McLeavy had married his mother in 1999, the same year she gave birth to their daughter, and they lived together in Olliver Acre in Wick.

He was passionate about music and walking but developed cysts in both legs which gave him chronic pain and eventually forced him to give up work.

The death of Mrs McLeavy’s father in Italy saw her and the two children travel abroad to care for her mother and it was while they were away that Mr McLeavy became depressed, the inquest heard.

Mr McLeavy rang his wife while she was on a beach in Italy the day before his death.

“She told me it was hard to hear him because it was so windy but he was very upset and crying on the phone, telling her he was depressed and thinking about suicide,” Mr Graziano said.

“She tried to dissuade him.

“Later when we got home from the beach he called again saying he had booked a ticket and packed his passport, as we found when we returned home to England.

He added: “Afterwards we heard the tragic news of Simon’s death. Simon was fully prepared to fly out (to visit us) so something must have clicked in his head to make him do what he did.

“Prior to the phone call to my mum the day before he died, Simon had never mentioned suicide.

“He was never depressed and this was completely out of character.”

The inquest heard that a 26-page suicide note had been found in Mr McLeavy’s house, in which he had ‘said goodbye to his family’.

A statement was read out at the inquest from the driver of the train. Mr Wilkinson said Shaun Harding had been a driver for 13 years and had stated ‘I have been off work for three weeks, this is the third time I have had to deal with a fatality as a driver’.

Recording a verdict of suicide, Mr Wilkinson said: “The facts as I understand them are clearly that Simon was a troubled soul in the last few months of his life.

“The difficulties he had with his legs was very troubling for him...this is not a man with a history of depression or anxiety.”

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