Dalton man succumbed to 30 year battle with mental illness after domestic assault

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9 August 2017 8:45PM

A "BUBBLY and loving" Dalton man lay down in front of a train after assaulting his girlfriend two days earlier.

Paul Edward Smith, 52, died on September 30 2015 when he was hit by a train at Dalton.

A note left at his home in Fell Croft apologised and said it was "30 years in the making."

Mr Smith was prescribed anti-depressants after his third suicide attempt in seven years, just three months before his death, but stopped taking them shortly afterwards.

"I've hit rock bottom and I don't want to get back up again. I can't live with my head like this anymore."

At an inquest today (9) at Barrow Town Hall, assistant coroner Paul O'Donnell heard evidence from 19 people, including British Transport Police officers, mental health nurses and the driver of the train.

They were told how Mr Smith, who was born in Barrow and raised in Swarthmoor, endured psychological and emotional abuse from his father during his childhood.

Speaking at the inquest, Mr Smith's girlfriend Julie Kendal said: "As a person he was bubbly and a lovely man.

"But there was another side to him that he didn't want anyone to know. I saw him hiding that.

"He thought everything was against him sometimes. He would just see the negatives."

Mr Smith was arrested and charged two days before his death by police after punching Miss Kendal in the leg, restraining her and shouting in her face.

She said: "It was like something had snapped. Sometimes I would feel scared when he got so annoyed but I never thought he would hit me.

"The police came and arrested him and that was the last time I saw him.

"I asked a friend to go round to check on him the next day because I knew what he'd try to do. I couldn't talk to him myself because I knew I'd end up giving in and getting back together with him.

"Since then I've been left thinking it's my fault."

Upon searching Mr Smith's house following his death, police officers found a note attached to a last will and testament. It said: "I am sorry to everyone this has affected but it's been 30 years in the making.

"I've hit rock bottom and I don't want to get back up again. I can't live with my head like this anymore.

"I know I've been selfish and I'm sorry to the train driver but you've done me a favour."

Police officers found a bottle of an unknown liquid and a bottle of Jim Beam bourbon at the side of the track where Mr Smith had been standing.

He was identified by his fingerprints, and a toxicology report found traces of alcohol, then-legal high MPA, and sildenafil, commonly known as Viagra, in his system.

Recording a verdict of suicide, Mr O'Donnell said: "The individual that Julie fell in love with was plagued by his demons.

"While bringing him calmness it also brought emotional pressures that he just found too difficult to deal with.

"He was charged and bailed and then 36 hours later he lay before the train and took his life.

"It was a rather tragic situation because he had the opportunity to confide in those who loved him dearly and professionals who wanted to help.

"No blame should be attached whatsoever to Julie. The decision that Paul took as a result of the relationship breakdown was his, and his alone.

"Life, for whatever reason, had become too difficult for him and he decided to bring it to an end.

"His life was good but unfortunately he couldn't find a way to focus on the positives."

Helplines

Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at jo@samaritans.org.

Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.

PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.

Depression Alliance is a charity for people with depression. It doesn’t have a helpline, but offers a wide range of useful resources and links to other relevant information. http://www.depressionalliance.org/

Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts. Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying. http://studentsagainstdepression.org/

The Sanctuary (0300 003 7029) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year, for people who are struggling to cope - experiencing depression, anxiety, panic attacks or in crisis.

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