Inquest reveals former Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital porter from Newton Flotman took his own life

A 'bubbly and sociable' Norwich hospital porter intended to take his own life by running in front of a train, an inquest heard.

Married father-of-two Martin Brookes, died on December 20 last year when his body struck a train travelling at 95mph through his home village of Newton Flotman.

His wife, Hayley Brookes, who spoke at yesterday's inquest, described the 41-year-old as 'the life and soul of the party' and said he had become 'distressed' after being suspended from his job at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on December 16.

'Over that weekend he was very, very quiet,' she said.

'He was withdrawn – but he never mentioned suicide, not at all.'

Affectionately known by his family and friends as 'Brookey', Mr Brookes, of Blundeville Manor, used to be a keen footballer, playing midfield for Aslacton and Great Moulton Football Club, before a reoccuring knee problem stopped him from playing the game he loved.

Close friend Joanne Bryant said: 'Brookey told me he had been suspended from work but I thought he was joking, as he was always known as a bit of a joker.

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'He said it was nothing a bottle of whiskey and some pills couldn't cure and winked at me. If you knew him it was just the way he was.

'He was one of the nicest people I think I've ever known. A nice chap who would do anything for anybody.'

A statement from National Express train driver Robin Mayes said at 7.49am he saw a 'black shape' run out in front of the train and heard a 'loud bang'. He believed he had collided with an animal, but it was later confirmed as being Mr Brookes.

Norfolk coroner William Armstrong said: 'His death cannot destroy the gift of his life.' The jury recorded a verdict of suicide while in a distressed state of mind.

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