Open verdict follows man’s death on rail line

Date: Saturday 8th April 2006

A CORONER recorded an open verdict at an inquest into the death of an Eden man killed when he was hit by a train.

John Rudd, a 62-year-old retired lorry driver who lived at Langwathby, was found dead beside a stretch of the west coast main line a mile north of Southwaite on 20th January.

Relatives told the inquest in Carlisle that, several hours before, Mr. Rudd had left the Southwaite home of his stepfather. He headed to the railway line, a place where he used to play as a youngster.

His wife, Elizabeth, to whom he was married for 30 years, said earlier in the day she and her husband had gone to a Penrith supermarket before heading to Southwaite to see his sister and stepfather.

Mrs. Rudd said her husband had never thought about committing suicide or had been depressed.

Just before midnight, the driver of a freight train travelling from Warrington to Carlisle raised the alarm after seeing Mr. Rudd’s body next to the line.

North East Cumbria coroner David Osborne was told that Mr. Rudd had been in good health prior to his death, having been prescribed new painkillers to treat his arthritis. But he had also started taking the antidepressant Citalopram just days before his death.

Mr. Osborne said there was no evidence that Mr. Rudd intended to commit suicide, but since Christmas he had dealt with the cases of six people who died shortly after being prescribed the antidepressant.

“I’m not saying that is what caused the death of Mr. Rudd, but I think it is a factor that has to be borne in mind,” said Mr. Osborne.