Musician racked with guilt took own life in bridge fall

PUBLISHED: 08:00 09 March 2012

Assistant deputy coroner Terrence Moore ruled that Mr Mathias had taken his own life

Assistant deputy coroner Terrence Moore ruled that Mr Mathias had taken his own life

Archant

A WESTON man whose body was found by a railway track took his own life after being racked by guilt at taking money from his late father’s bank account, a coroner has ruled.

Peter Mathias’ body was found by the railway line under Devil’s Bridge in Bleadon on June 15 last year.

At his inquest at Flax Bourton Coroner’s Court on Monday, the 54-year-old was described as ‘intelligent and articulate’ and ‘a talented musician’ by his brother John.

But the inquest also heard Mr Mathias had a long-standing alcohol problem and had several issues about his accommodation in Upper Church Road, Weston.

His father, James, died in October 2010 and Mr Mathias was appointed as one of the executors of his father’s will.

The inquest heard he had taken several thousand pounds from his father’s bank account in July 2010 before closing it, and again from another account on the day his father died.

On June 12, 2011, he visited Weston Police Station, where he told PC Kathleen Blackburn he was plagued by guilt at taking the money from his father’s accounts and was considering killing himself at Devil’s Bridge. He also said he had taken an overdose of prescription medicine.

He was immediately taken to Weston General Hospital and after an overnight stay and treatment for the overdose, spoke to mental health liaison nurse Robert McLaughlin.

In giving evidence, Mr McLaughlin said Mr Mathias had seemed calm and happy to talk about his issues and had told him he had considered suicide but was too scared to do it.

Mr McLaughlin said following their conversation he had not deemed Mr Mathias to be at immediate risk of trying to take his own life, and booked in another assessment for him on June 17.

A man matching Mr Mathias’ description was seen near the railway on June 14, and the next day his body was found curled up next to the railway track by the driver of the 5.30am service from Taunton to Bristol Temple Meads.

Police and ambulance crews were called and he was confirmed dead at 6.25am. He had eight broken ribs and severe bleeding in his chest cavity, injuries said to be consistent with falling from a significant height, while there were deep cuts on both of his wrists.

Ruling that Mr Mathias had taken his own life, Assistant Deputy Coroner Terrence Moore said the guilt from taking the money from his father’s accounts, problems with his accommodation and other factors had all played a part in his decision.

He said: “These things happened together to somebody who at that particular time wanted to take their own life. He made that decision and he carried it through.”

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