Suicide verdict for depressed man who 'dived' in front of train in Burry Port
A VERDICT of suicide was returned at an inquest into the death of a Burry Port man who "dived" onto the track in front of a 100-tonne train.
Mark Allan Jenkins, known as Chico to friends and family, died on May 20 after leaping in front of the Arriva 175 passenger train near Burry Port railway station.
The incident happened on a stretch of track which is becoming notorious for deaths.
A 10-man jury heard John Wilson, British Transport Police coroner's liaison officer, based at Swansea, explain that the incident happened just after 3.30pm.
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He said the train, driven by Sean Connolly, was the 2.04pm Cardiff to Milford Haven train, which was carrying two carriages and weighed approximately 100 tonnes.
Mr Wilson said the train was travelling at about 75 miles per hour at the time of the collision.
The train was fitted with a forward facing camera but it developed a fault and no footage was recovered of the accident.
Mr Wilson said the driver was "shocked" to see a male on the near side of the train, he sounded the horn but "there was nothing he could do to avoid a collision".
He said Mr Jenkins had served in the RAF and was a former police officer, who had served in Haverfordwest and Carmarthen.
He was a keen golfer and cricketer, but had developed sciatic arthritis and had "lost confidence in his ability to defend himself in a violent situation" and resigned from the police in 1999 after being refused a desk job."
The inquest heard that Jenkins "became withdrawn and quiet", and drove off in a car without explanation in 2002/2003. He was found in Aberystwyth, having taken 40 Paracetamol tablets.
He and his wife, Caroline, returned to the area and he began work as a lecturer at Trinity College, Carmarthen, before obtaining certificates to teach abroad, working in Spain, Turkey and Czechoslovakia.
When his mother-in-law became terminally ill, the couple moved back to Burry Port, but he became frustrated after seeking Jobseekers Allowance and teaching jobs in the UK. The inquest heard he was on antidepressant Seroxat at the time of his death.
The jury recorded a verdict that Jenkins took his own life.
The stretch of track between Carmarthen and Llanelli has witnessed a number of deaths in recent years, including a spate last year of three deaths in three months, leading to calls for an inquiry.
The first was on August 22, when David Shearan, 69, was struck on the line at Ferryside after getting lost.
On October 2, former Pencader Primary School teacher Meryl Jenkins, from Cwmffrwdd, was killed by a train at St Ishmael's Crossing between Kidwelly and Ferryside.
And on November 30, 25-year-old design engineer Emrys Davies was killed on the line near Burry Port at 9.05pm.
After the inquest yesterday Mr Wilson said: "When I took (driver) Sean's statement off him, he was on the sick, but they receive counselling from the train companies. "
Asked what could be done to stop copycat suicides, he said: "Other than bringing them all underground, what can they do?"