Former teacher took her own life at station

NBENBE100726d1, Belper train station
NBENBE100726d1, Belper train station

An adventurous former school teacher took her own life at Belper station after stepping in front of a train, an inquest has heard.

Mother-of-two Anne Baynton, of Mickleover, was seen calmly smoking a cigarette before stepping onto the tracks in the town on April 15, 2010.

The 74-year-old had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and had suffered from depressive tendencies since 2007.

A week-long inquest into her death concluded on Friday with a jury taking two hours to return a verdict of suicide.

In statement released after the hearing her family raised questions about how she was allowed to leave Dovedale Day Hospital where she was being treated, get a bus to Belper and take her own life.

It read: “The family strongly believe this incident could have been prevented. Key failings in several areas of her care contributed to her taking the opportunity to end her life in a most desperate way.

“The transformation from a well travelled outwardly going and loving mother to the end in 2010 has been an upsetting and lengthy process.”

Mrs Baynton spent a life traveling to the far corners of the world, including to the Panama Canal and Alaska.

But her family had noticed a marked change in her personallity from 2007, and she was referred to a psychiatrist doctor in August that year.

“She had become withdrawn,” said Derby coroner Paul Hunter during his summing up on Friday.

“She would not answer the door to her family.”

“She believed she had cancer in different areas of the body, but no evidence was found of this.”

Mrs Baynton, who had begun drinking heavily in 2007 despite being ‘teetotal’ all her life, spent the following three years in and out of a Derby Royal Infirmary psychiatric ward, receiving regular home visits and attending frequent voluntary group sessions at Dovedale Day Hospital in Derby.

She was diagnosed with dementia in February 2010.

The inquest had heard from the day hospital that Mrs Baynton was ‘not physically dependent on drink’ and that her alcohol consumption ‘was a secondary issue’ to mental illness. However her family had questioned why she was not referred to Alcohol Services during her treatment, said Mr Mr Hunter

Her son Peter also felt she should have been placed on a stricter level of observation while attending Dovedale, the hearing was told.

The hospital maintained that Mrs Baynton’s actions on April 15, ‘could not be forseen’ and that she was considered a low suicide risk. She had visited Dovedale 87 times and had gone for a cigarette there on numerous occasions.

On the day she took her own life she was attending a group therapy session for anxiety at Dovedale Day Hospital in Derby.

At 11.15am she told staff she was heading outside the hospital for a cigarette in a designated area at the front of the hospital.

Instead she took the 11.35am bus to Belper and got off at the station. She was killed by an oncoming train at 12.20pm. The hospital has since moved the smoking area to an inner courtyard at the premises.