COMMUTERS described the harrowing moment they witnessed a man lie calmly on a rail track and wait for a train to kill him.

Dozens of train passengers were waiting at Highams Park station for a London-bound train when they witnessed Robin Pye, who had been battling mental illness, climb down from the platform.

At an inquest today at Walthamstow Coroner's Court a jury recorded a verdict of suicide, deciding Mr Pye had killed himself while suffering schizophrenia.

Several commuters witnessed the incident on February 3 this year, including account cashier Deirdre Pack.

She described noticing the 54-year-old bachelor sitting on a bench on the snow-covered platform opposite.

She said she heard the sirens for the level crossing going down and looked down the track to see if is was her train arriving.

She said: "As I turned back, he walked up to the edge of the platform as if he was walking into a swimming pool and gently put himself over the edge of the platform onto the track.

"He lay in the middle of the track and didn't try to get up, he just lay there. As the train came I looked away.”

John Ireland, a policeman on his way to work in central London, described hearing a woman screaming as the train pulled in.

Jason Smith, the driver of the 8.33am Liverpool Street to Chingford service, said he saw Mr Pye jump onto the track as the train pulled into the station and sounded his horn while applying the emergency break, but could not stop in time.

Trainee train driver, Gary Churchill, was on his second day on the job when he witnessed the incident in the front cab - both had to have time of work following the trauma.

Mr Churchill said: “As we pulled in, I heard Jim say, “no, no” and sound his horn. I saw the person wearing the hat lying on the track. The train went over him and I felt a bump.”

The jury heard that Mr Pye, who was a patient at Naseberry Court psychiatric hospital in Highams Park, had suffered from mental health issues for most of his adult life and had been sectioned several times.

Consultant psychiatrist, Dr Peter Carter told the jury that the former British Telecom engineer regularly took his medication and had not expressed suicidal thoughts, so his death came as a shock.

The court heard that the church-goer, who had also been undertaking voluntary work, left no suicide note or text message for his family who he had spent Christmas with and seen shortly before his death.

After the inquest, his brother Julian Pye told the Guardian: “I think it was the right verdict.

“It was sad the way that he went, but now he is at peace after all the torment he has been through in his life.

"He will be sorely missed, but remembered by all his family as a generous and caring person.”