David William Waygood

Work stress a factor in Kemsing man's suicide, inquest rules

By spdoran | Posted: October 15, 2013

A POPULAR Kemsing businessman walked in front of a train as the stress of work took its toll, an inquest heard.

Banker and company director David William Waygood, 62, of Sherborne Grove, died on the morning of April 27 after being hit by a train at a railway crossing in Otford.

At the time of his death, Mr Waygood – who had been employed by both HSBC and NatWest before working for himself – had been encountering difficulties at work which saw his company facing an investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Ruling at Tunbridge Wells Coroners Court on Tuesday, assistant coroner Alan Blunsdon recorded a verdict of suicide, citing the stress of as a contributing factor.

“He was a successful and popular businessman, well-known in the area,” said His Honour Mr Blunsdown.

“The evidence shows this was a deliberate act by the deceased. He walked onto the track and made no effort to get out of the way.”

The court heard how the driver of the 8.32 Sevenoaks to Blackfriars train had seen Mr Waygood standing on the footpath at the Pilgrim’s Way crossing, approximately 12 yards from the track.

As the train driver sounded his horn to warn of the train approaching, Mr Waygood walked forward and turned to face the train with his hands raised.

Although the driver immediately hit the brakes, he couldn’t stop the train in time and Mr Waygood suffered severe trauma to his head.

Despite paramedics’ attempts to save his life, he was pronounced dead at 9.17am. A second witness, another train driver at Otford station, backed up the sequence of events and the incident was declared by police to be non-suspicious.

Mr Waygood had been experiencing considerable stress at the time and his son James had been staying with him due to these concerns, the inquest heard.

During a visit to his GP earlier that month, he had been found to be “distressed, down and depressed” and after missing an appointment with a counsellor to discuss his problems, Police were alerted to check on his welfare.

Officers visited his home on April 22 to discuss the concerns and, after a lengthy chat, decided he was not a risk to himself or others.

“He understood how these concerns had come about and said he hadn’t been sleeping due to stress. He was apologetic and thankful for the concern,” said Martin Rolf of the British Transport Police, giving evidence.

“He stated he wasn’t going to take his own life and was looking forward to having a good night’s sleep with new medication.”

Prior to his death, a note addressed to son James and daughter Lizzie was left on the desk of his study at home, indicated the stress of his work was a contributing factor in his planned suicide.


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