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Swardeston man struck by train had not got over son’s crime, inquest hears

16:53 01 May 2014

The coroner

The coroner's court in Thorpe Road, Norwich. Picture: Denise Bradley

Archant 2012

A prison officer who was struck by a train near a railway crossing had never recovered from the jailing of his son for murder seven years ago, an inquest heard.

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Christopher Hand, 54, who worked at Norwich prison, died on January 28 at Keswick, near Norwich.

Today’s Norwich inquest heard that Mr Hand’s son, Michael, had been jailed for murder in West Yorkshire in February 2007.

In a statement read to the court, another of Mr Hand’s sons, Wayne, said it had been a “huge turning point” in his father’s life, and he had subsequently split from his wife. Eventually, Mr Hand moved in with a new partner, Nicola Saul, in Cavell Close, Swardeston, near Norwich, and started working at the prison.

On the morning of January 28, Miss Saul told the inquest she kissed him goodbye and left him in bed. The previous night they had enjoyed a happy evening and he had been laughing, she said.

Before Mr Hand left their home he had looked on his computer at a streetmap of the Keswick area and train times.

Senior Norfolk coroner Jacqueline Lake recorded a verdict of suicide. She said: “He had a number of long-standing issues that he had not resolved within his own mind.”

In a statement, Wayne Hand said his father, originally from Huddersfield, had been a prison officer from about 1990.

He said that his brother’s jailing for killing a taxi driver, with three others, had a “massive adverse effect” on his father’s life.

“Within five years he had gone from having a wife and three sons with him to being on his own.”

His father received help from the mental health service and was on medication.

If you need help, call the Samaritans on 08457 9090 90.

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