Father struggled with drink before his death

Incident at Wivelsfield Station. Picture by Eddie Howland SUS-140925-125522001
Incident at Wivelsfield Station. Picture by Eddie Howland SUS-140925-125522001
  • David Pape died after being hit by a train last year
  • He suffered from poor physical and mental health
  • David has a problem with ongoing alcohol abuse

A father who died after being hit by a train was suffering from mental and physical difficulties associated with excessive alcohol consumption.

An inquest into the death of David Pape, of the Hornbeams, Burgess Hill, concluded that the 48-year-old ‘took his own life’.

David was hit by a train travelling at 80mph at Wivelsfield Railway Station on September 24.

He was retired and divorced, and had 212mg in every 100ml of blood in toxicology testing after he died, close to three times the drink drive limit.

David was known to drink half a bottle of whiskey a day before his death, was in contact with alcohol abuse support group and prescribed various drugs to reduce his drinking.

Coroners officer Lynda Ralfe told the court he struggled with depression as he lost motivation, confidence, was tearful in the morning and had turned to thoughts of self harm.

Gwynfor Jones worked with David at Network Rail, and they went on to become ‘strong friends’.

He sent a letter to British Transport Police with information about the time leading to David’s death.

Inspector Gary Ancell read the letter at the inquest at Centenary House, Worthing.

“His drinking was so excessive to the point we considered him to be an alcoholic,” he said.

“He stated he was suicidal which alarmed both me and my wife.”

Gwynfor and his wife had taken David to hospital with problems related to his drinking.

“We were not confident he went to follow up appointments,” Gwynfor wrote.

David had a damaged liver and high blood pressure from 2001-2013 before he lost weight.

His friends once found him in a ‘dishevelled state’.

Gwynfor’s letter said David’s drinking contributed to his declining mental health.

“He confided in me,” he added.

“He would always see he wanted to see his children,”

David retired in 2009.

Gwynfor asked a doctor if his friend could be sectioned when he began to worry about David’s suicidal implications, but as David was not expressing these thoughts to the doctor no action was taken.

Inspector Ancell said the train driver described the incident as ‘non-suspicious’, and he did not jump.

“He stood on the track. There’s no suggestion he fell,” the inspector said.

“It does appear to be a deliberate act. I don’t believe that any other person was involved.”

David left Gwynfor and his wife with what they confirmed is a ‘suicide note’.

Coroner Penelope Schofield concluded that ‘David took his own life’.

“You did so much for him. You did all you could,” she said to his friends.

“It’s tragic that he ended his life in this way.”