Dad left farewell letters before death at Harpenden rail station

PUBLISHED: 21:00 20 February 2017

Harpenden Train Station

Harpenden Train Station

Archant

Three farewell letters were found with a man who jumped in front of a train at Harpenden station last year, an inquest has heard.

Robert Preston-Jones, a 48-year-old lawyer, of London Road in St Albans, died on September 12 last year.

At his inquest on Thursday, February 9, Herts Coroner’s Court was told that earlier that day, Mr Preston-Jones was called into a meeting at work to discuss problems - and was given an ultimatum to either resign or face disciplinary action.

Det Con Tony Grittings, a member of the British Transport Police (BTP) fatal investigation team, gave evidence at the inquest.

He said a receipt from Ryman stationers was found in Mr Preston-Jones’s bag, showing he bought the paper and envelopes with which he would later pen his farewell notes addressed to his wife and two children.

CCTV images of the station platform were also provided by Det Con Grittings.

Mr Preston-Jones emailed colleagues with whom he had spoken with earlier that day to apologise and tell them they were not to blame.

The driver of an East Midlands train which was on its way to London saw Mr Preston-Jones about to break into a run on the platform, guessed what was about to happen and tried to apply the emergency brake.

However, at 120 miles per hour it was not possible to stop in time.

Herts Police, paramedics, and BTP officers attended the scene.

Senior Coroner Geoffrey Sullivan recorded suicide by multiple traumatic injuries.

He said: “When I look at the CCTV stills I am satisfied that Mr Preston-Jones voluntarily jumped from the platform onto the train to bring about the end of his life.

“Based on the events that took place in the office, his purchase of the envelopes, his emailing apologies to the partners, and his written notes to his family, I am satisfied that he did this act with the intention of ending his life.”

Mr Sullivan offered his condolences to the family.

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