A Burnham man who jumped to his death from a Bucks railway bridge had been “stressed” and “frustrated” about coronavirus and lockdown, an inquest has heard.

On Wednesday, January 20, multiple police officers were on the scene at Taplow Railway Bridge, going over the A4 Bath Road, when 74-year-old Maxwell Williams jumped around 40 feet down onto the road.

Mr Williams, of Almond Road in Burnham, was pronounced dead on the scene.

At an inquest into his death yesterday (Wednesday) Beaconsfield Coroners Court heard how police officers had been called to the scene at around noon, where they saw Mr Williams standing on the bridge.

At first, Mr Williams appeared to be hiding from the officers, crouching behind the one-metre high wall along the side of the bridge, but officers noticed his head poking out from above the wall.

The court heard how two police officers climbed up the bridge on the other side of the railway tracks to Mr Williams, but when he saw them approaching, he stood up on the wall and faced down onto the road.

The officers attempted to speak to Mr Williams but he did not respond to any of their efforts.

Mr Williams then jumped off the side of the bridge into the road, where he suffered "catastrophic" injuries to his head, neck and back and was pronounced dead by an ambulance crew at 12.42pm.

Reading out a statement from PC James Shepherd, coroner Crispin Butler said: “When he (Mr Williams) saw us he climbed onto the wall of the bridge, facing down.

“I tried to engage him and asked if he would come down from the wall and that we were trying to help him.

“He turned and looked in our direction and looked back at the road, bent his knees and jumped.

“It looked like he used so much force it caused him to go head-first.”

Another statement from PC Michael Austin, who was on the road beneath the bridge during the incident, said: “I didn’t see him jump off the bridge but I saw him fall. He was head-first.

“I ran over to him and was looking at him, it was obvious he was not breathing and seriously injured.”

The court heard how Mr Williams had not suffered from any mental health issues and was also in a good state of physical health leading up to the incident.

The coroner did reveal, however, that Mr Williams had always been a “worrier” and his family had noticed that he was “stressed” by the coronavirus pandemic and “struggled” with lockdown.

Mr Williams’ wife had also recently seen her husband break down in tears over the pandemic and lockdown situation.

The coroner, Mr Butler, concluded that Mr Williams died by suicide, with the multiple injuries he sustained during the incident the cause of death.

Mr Butler said: “This is a very sad and tragic situation.

“When you consider the injuries in the context of what occurred, this was witnessed, there weren’t any clear indicators to the family at all that this was going to happen.

“It was clear he was in a position of danger, but he jumped before further measures could be taken and it’s clear this was an intentional act.

“He undertook the act itself and it is clear from the height of the bridge that he intended fatal injuries to result.”

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