Distraught Chippenham teenager made remark to mum about dying before lying on rail track

Ryce Hodson, 19, was struck by a train near Bath Road on August 13 last year

Ryce Hodson, 19, was struck by a train near Bath Road on August 13 last year

First published in Chippenham
Last updated
by , Senior reporter

A teenager told his mum he may as well throw himself in front of a train before he lay on a railway line at Chippenham later that day.

Ryce Hodson, 19, was struck by a train near Bath Road on August 13 last year, an inquest into his death at Salisbury heard yesterday.

He was upset about not managing to contact the mother of his unborn child, which the coroner’s court heard was due to be born this month.

Mr Hodson, who moved to Chippenham in May 2012 and lived in Stockwood Road, was also worried about being charged with police assault. He was due in court in October 2013 and also received a police caution the day before he died.

His mum Beverley Hodson, who lives in Grimsby where her son was born, received a phone call from him just after midnight as he walked home from the police station.

She said: “He said to me, I can’t cope. He was so frightened by his court appearance. He said I might as well throw myself in front of a train and I said, don’t be silly, go home, have a cup of tea, get to bed and get some sleep.

"I said I’ll phone you back when I get back from Ireland, but by then it was too late.”

Assistant coroner Ian Singleton said: “She didn’t take that as a serious comment but an off the cuff remark and I agree with her interpretation.”

He said it was clear it was a deliberate act and ruled that Mr Hodson took his own life.

The Swindon to Southampton two carriage passenger train, weighing 75 tonnes, was going at 40mph and there was nothing the driver could have done, said John Wilson, of British Transport Police.

At 7.10pm, two minutes after setting off from Chippenham Station, driver Adam Beynon saw a young man on the track turn to look towards the train.

In a statement read out at the coroner’s court, he said: “The person made no attempt to move.

“Had he moved six foot away, my train would have missed him.”

Doctors found some cannabis but no alcohol in Mr Hodson’s system.

His former girlfriend was a few weeks pregnant and he told a psychiatric nurse on the morning of his death he was looking forward to being a father.

Sara Simms, who assessed Mr Hodson for an hour, told the coroner she did not believe him to have psychosis. He had not been taking his mood stabiliser medication because he found it too sedating.

She said: “He was very concerned that he hadn’t been able to contact [his former girlfriend]. He was looking at his phone constantly to see if he had any messages. He was preoccupied about that.”

Mr Hodson had told her he had no thoughts of self-harm.

“He was talking about the future, wanting to be a good dad,” she said.

“He talked about nearly getting run over by a truck the day before. It seemed to concern him that his life might have ended in that way.”

They spoke about counselling for bereavement and anger management and he was planning to write a letter of apology to the police.

Two hours before his death he texted his sister Emma Smith, who lives in Calne, to say he appreciated everything they were all doing for him and he wanted everyone to be happy and get along.

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