A shopaholic who fell to his death from the top of the multi-storey car park above Huddersfield bus station had returned to the same spot of a failed suicide bid more than 18 years earlier.
Paul Crossland, 54, of Headlands Road, Liversedge, was a voluntary in-patient at Calderdale Royal Hospital’s mental health unit, Ashdale Ward, when the tragedy happened - and it emerged during the hearing that his brother had also killed himself.
On the morning of his death - Saturday, February 18 - he told staff he was popping out to buy a newspaper.
But an inquest at Bradford Coroner’s Court heard today (Thurs) that staff’s suspicions were aroused when he was seen getting into a taxi which they found “odd”.
Unfortunately they only had an old mobile phone number for him and after calling the taxi firm they found he was heading to Huddersfield bus station – the same place he had jumped from in 1998.
Amazingly, on that occasion he survived, albeit with life-changing injuries, mainly to his lower body area.
The court heard that Mr Crossland had suffered from severe depression for many years and had run up debts of approaching £10,000.
His sister Mrs Beverley Robinson, a teaching assistant, described him in a statement as “a shopaholiic”.
She said: “He would buy very expensive things he couldn’t afford. He couldn’t cope with the stress of it and got very anxious about it.”
He also had to cope with the shock of his brother taking his own life. His depression was so severe that he had received electroconvulsive therapy at the unit which briefly improved his mood.
“Then I saw a driver from Yorkshire Tiger run towards the male and realised he must have fallen,” he said. “I was very shaken up by the incident.”
Another bus driver, Benjamin Walker, an X63 Huddersfield/Bradford driver, said: “I looked up and saw an object falling to the ground. I got out of my bus. I froze and didn’t know what to do. I was in complete shock. It took a few minutes for it to sink in.”
Police were called and CCTV footage revealed Mr Crossland was alone by the ledge in the car park before he fell. There were no suspicious circumstances
South West Yorkshire Hospital Trust carried out a serious incident investigation which found the ward’s practices were appropriate and that staff followed the practice and policy in terms of caring for Mr Crossland.
Coroner Oliver Longstaff said Mr Crossland had intentionally taken his own life.
He said: “Mr Crossland was observed to make deliberate attempts to climb onto the wall for no other reason than the intention to fall backwards from it to the ground. He had been a suicide risk for a very long time.”