AN elderly Marlow man who had been battling a depressive illness died after being hit by a train, an inquest was told.

William Taylor, 77, died from serious head injuries after stepping in front of the 13.06 Marlow to Maidenhead service at a pedestrian crossing near Gossmore Lane on January 11.

His son-in-law Terry Elton told Wycombe Law Courts that Mr Taylor had been becoming more and more forgetful and was often “in a world of his own” in the 18 months leading up to his death.

The Laburnum Close resident had been analysed at the specialist mental health Harding Ward at Stoke Mandeville Hospital and was on medication during that time, Mr Elton added.

He said: “His state of mind was nowhere near where it was 18 months ago. His health was deteriorating, he was under observation in Aylesbury but he was released home.

“He had started to recover, he went to dinners and for walks, but his medication changed and he was getting more forgetful. He started going for more walks and he was often in his own little world.

“He clearly wasn’t himself but he didn’t come across as someone who would give in...He wasn’t a quitter.”

He added his father-in-law had not been deemed to be a suicide risk by doctors and suspected Mr Taylor was on his way home from a stroll around the river in the Gossmore Lane area.

The driver of the train, Andrew Carney, told today's inquest that he saw a man on the crossing and sounded the train’s horn to alert him.

He said the man initially backtracked but, when the train was about ten meters away, he turned back and walked onto the tracks.

Recording an open verdict, the Buckinghamshire Coroner Richard Hulett said: “To return a verdict of suicide I have to be sure beyond reasonable doubt. At that moment in time he has stepped out in front of the train.

“However, I will return an open verdict, as any coroner should if there’s some other possible explanation, such as someone being confused or compulsive, even if it’s against their character.”