Inquest: ‘Loving and caring’ son took his own life at Meadowhall railway station

Meadowhall station

Meadowhall station

A Sheffield man took his own life at a city railway station after struggling to cope with his autism.

Paul Mitchell, aged 25, of Wilcox Road, Fox Hill, died after being struck by a train at Meadowhall railway station at around 4.55pm on February 16.

Assistant coroner Louise Slater at Sheffield’s Medico Legal Centre recorded a verdict of suicide.

The court heard police officers examined CCTV of Mr Mitchell jumping down from a platform then walking behind a stationary train onto the opposite track before stepping in front of the moving train on the other line.

A statement from the driver read out in court said Mr Mitchell walked onto the line and made no effort to avoid the oncoming train.

The train, travelling from Derby to Newcastle, was going 90 mph at the time of impact.

Pathologist Dr Julian Burton said Mr Mitchell died of ‘multiple injuries’ of a ‘severe nature’.

The station was cleared of passengers as emergency services attended to Mr Mitchell.

When officers turned up at his home address to reveal the news, Mr Mitchell’s father said: “I expected this at some point to happen.”

The court heard Paul was a ‘loving and caring’ son and was diagnosed with autism when he was aged four.

But in a statement from his father, Paul Mitchell senior, the court heard his son became increasingly withdrawn and found social interaction with others difficult as he got older.

The heartbreaking account from the deceased’s father explained how Paul thought everyone ‘lived a normal life’ and he ‘couldn’t have something like that’.

Paul, who loved going to the cinema, watching TV and playing video games, spoke about taking his own life around three years before his death and asked his father what the ‘next life’ would be like.

Paul’s father said: “He struggled with talking to people and found it hard in social situations as he grew up.

“Paul found it increasingly difficult in his late teens and early 20s.

“He used to struggle to switch off at night and he became frustrated and depressed by this.”

Assistant coroner Slater said: “I have taken into account the extensive CCTV footage and in my view there is nothing to suggest that Paul was unlawfully killed. This was a deliberate act to take his own life.”

For anyone who wants to seek help, contact Samaritans’ 24/7 help line on 116 123.

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