Mother-of-two Julie Richardson died after being hit by a train between Romsey and Salisbury

Driver relives 'horrendous moment' woman walked in front of train

Driver relives 'horrendous moment' woman walked in front of train

First published in News
Last updated
Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

A DRIVER has relived the horrendous moment his train ploughed into a Hampshire woman on a railway track.

Depressed mum-of-two Julie Richardson deliberately walked in to the path of the train as it made its way between Romsey and Salisbury - making it impossible for the driver to stop, an inquest heard.

The court heard how the driver saw the 54-year-old walk in to the centre of the crossing and turn her back on the train he immediately engaged the emergency brake and sounded the horn.

But knowing he was powerless to stop the train from hitting her, the driver said: “I turned my seat, covered my ears and closed my eyes to prepare for the impact.”

The inquest was told how the train eventually came to a stop 100 metres away from the initial crash site.

He added: “A female dog walker had witnessed what had happened. I saw her walking off with her head in her hands.”

Southampton Coroner's Court heard how Mrs Richardson had been suffering from depression throughout her life and had become estranged from her family.

After complaining about her state of depression to her GP, she had driven from her home in Sutherland Drive, Romsey, to Crampmoor level crossing and parked her car nearby.

She had been due to attend an appointment with a psychiatric consultant days after she killed herself on February 18, the court was told.

The inquest heard how police found a note under her doormat asking for whoever found it to “look after the pets in the house”. She owned two horses, two dogs and a cat.

The court also learned that she had lost “any real contact” with her two daughters, Laura and Sophie, and had been divorced since 2003.

Delivering a verdict of suicide, Coroner Grahame Short said he believed Mrs Richardson had suffered from a severe bout of depression in the days before her death.

He said: “Despite the horn being sounded she wanted to be struck by that train. The investigation and the history of depression lead me to the conclusion that Mrs Richardson took her own life.”

Comments (20)

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9:41am Mon 4 Aug 14

Ozmosis says...

Poor driver - it must have been dreadful for him, and the family of the lady involved.
Poor driver - it must have been dreadful for him, and the family of the lady involved. Ozmosis
  • Score: 20

9:49am Mon 4 Aug 14

Donald2000 says...

This is always a terrible thing, that people should be so utterly devastated that they should want to take their own lives and I would honestly urge any person feeling like this to please speak to someone, Samaritans are very good at listening to people with emotional problems, or contact your local branch of Mind.
This is always a terrible thing, that people should be so utterly devastated that they should want to take their own lives and I would honestly urge any person feeling like this to please speak to someone, Samaritans are very good at listening to people with emotional problems, or contact your local branch of Mind. Donald2000
  • Score: 10

9:52am Mon 4 Aug 14

sparkster says...

so sad, I feel for the driver too and the family. I have felt this way myself in the past and I think unless anyone has been there they dont have a clue, so please may I ask before any comments of selfish woman etc. appear just be thankful if you have family and friends to turn to, this poor woman obviously didnt as the article says she was estranged from her family
so sad, I feel for the driver too and the family. I have felt this way myself in the past and I think unless anyone has been there they dont have a clue, so please may I ask before any comments of selfish woman etc. appear just be thankful if you have family and friends to turn to, this poor woman obviously didnt as the article says she was estranged from her family sparkster
  • Score: 22

10:13am Mon 4 Aug 14

solomum says...

My heart goes out to this lady, and her family who must be feeling completely devastated, especially as they were estranged from her.
My heart goes out to this lady, and her family who must be feeling completely devastated, especially as they were estranged from her. solomum
  • Score: 5

10:15am Mon 4 Aug 14

hayz90 says...

soso sad :[ made me cry .your now free from depression something that dosnt leave the body easily x thoughts go to the driver also x
soso sad :[ made me cry .your now free from depression something that dosnt leave the body easily x thoughts go to the driver also x hayz90
  • Score: 7

10:20am Mon 4 Aug 14

OSPREYSAINT says...

Ozmosis wrote:
Poor driver - it must have been dreadful for him, and the family of the lady involved.
An incident of this nature also affects a lot of other people who are involved, clearing up the mess and sorting out the transport which has to planned to make alternative ways to get people where they need to be. Tragic as it is, many people need to be involved and although I guess they are just doing their jobs, seldom get any thanks. People calling the woman selfish have no understanding of how peoples minds can be disturbed, perhaps if others had been paying attention to what was going on around them, just maybe they could have done something to avoid it, but it is very easy to be judgemental after the event.
[quote][p][bold]Ozmosis[/bold] wrote: Poor driver - it must have been dreadful for him, and the family of the lady involved.[/p][/quote]An incident of this nature also affects a lot of other people who are involved, clearing up the mess and sorting out the transport which has to planned to make alternative ways to get people where they need to be. Tragic as it is, many people need to be involved and although I guess they are just doing their jobs, seldom get any thanks. People calling the woman selfish have no understanding of how peoples minds can be disturbed, perhaps if others had been paying attention to what was going on around them, just maybe they could have done something to avoid it, but it is very easy to be judgemental after the event. OSPREYSAINT
  • Score: 10

10:59am Mon 4 Aug 14

rudolph_hucker says...

OSPREYSAINT wrote:
Ozmosis wrote: Poor driver - it must have been dreadful for him, and the family of the lady involved.
An incident of this nature also affects a lot of other people who are involved, clearing up the mess and sorting out the transport which has to planned to make alternative ways to get people where they need to be. Tragic as it is, many people need to be involved and although I guess they are just doing their jobs, seldom get any thanks. People calling the woman selfish have no understanding of how peoples minds can be disturbed, perhaps if others had been paying attention to what was going on around them, just maybe they could have done something to avoid it, but it is very easy to be judgemental after the event.
Exactly! Someone has to go and clear all that up. Not nice.
[quote][p][bold]OSPREYSAINT[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Ozmosis[/bold] wrote: Poor driver - it must have been dreadful for him, and the family of the lady involved.[/p][/quote]An incident of this nature also affects a lot of other people who are involved, clearing up the mess and sorting out the transport which has to planned to make alternative ways to get people where they need to be. Tragic as it is, many people need to be involved and although I guess they are just doing their jobs, seldom get any thanks. People calling the woman selfish have no understanding of how peoples minds can be disturbed, perhaps if others had been paying attention to what was going on around them, just maybe they could have done something to avoid it, but it is very easy to be judgemental after the event.[/p][/quote]Exactly! Someone has to go and clear all that up. Not nice. rudolph_hucker
  • Score: 6

11:15am Mon 4 Aug 14

KayleighJade says...

Poor driver. He's probably going to be scarred for life because of this.
Poor driver. He's probably going to be scarred for life because of this. KayleighJade
  • Score: 3

11:44am Mon 4 Aug 14

sparkster says...

What lovely compassionate comments above, the poor lady was trying to help herself by going to the GP etc. Depression is a terrible thing, you can look fine on the outside but its very different on the inside, I know i've been there, may the poor lady rest in peace now free from depression and estrangement
What lovely compassionate comments above, the poor lady was trying to help herself by going to the GP etc. Depression is a terrible thing, you can look fine on the outside but its very different on the inside, I know i've been there, may the poor lady rest in peace now free from depression and estrangement sparkster
  • Score: 4

11:53am Mon 4 Aug 14

KayleighJade says...

sparkster wrote:
What lovely compassionate comments above, the poor lady was trying to help herself by going to the GP etc. Depression is a terrible thing, you can look fine on the outside but its very different on the inside, I know i've been there, may the poor lady rest in peace now free from depression and estrangement
No thoughts for the driver or the passer by who happened to witness the whole thing then?

Killing yourself via train is about as public as suicide gets.
[quote][p][bold]sparkster[/bold] wrote: What lovely compassionate comments above, the poor lady was trying to help herself by going to the GP etc. Depression is a terrible thing, you can look fine on the outside but its very different on the inside, I know i've been there, may the poor lady rest in peace now free from depression and estrangement[/p][/quote]No thoughts for the driver or the passer by who happened to witness the whole thing then? Killing yourself via train is about as public as suicide gets. KayleighJade
  • Score: -8

12:53pm Mon 4 Aug 14

thesouth says...

KayleighJade wrote:
sparkster wrote:
What lovely compassionate comments above, the poor lady was trying to help herself by going to the GP etc. Depression is a terrible thing, you can look fine on the outside but its very different on the inside, I know i've been there, may the poor lady rest in peace now free from depression and estrangement
No thoughts for the driver or the passer by who happened to witness the whole thing then?

Killing yourself via train is about as public as suicide gets.
And your ignorance is now very public too
[quote][p][bold]KayleighJade[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]sparkster[/bold] wrote: What lovely compassionate comments above, the poor lady was trying to help herself by going to the GP etc. Depression is a terrible thing, you can look fine on the outside but its very different on the inside, I know i've been there, may the poor lady rest in peace now free from depression and estrangement[/p][/quote]No thoughts for the driver or the passer by who happened to witness the whole thing then? Killing yourself via train is about as public as suicide gets.[/p][/quote]And your ignorance is now very public too thesouth
  • Score: 0

12:59pm Mon 4 Aug 14

camerajuan says...

thesouth wrote:
KayleighJade wrote:
sparkster wrote:
What lovely compassionate comments above, the poor lady was trying to help herself by going to the GP etc. Depression is a terrible thing, you can look fine on the outside but its very different on the inside, I know i've been there, may the poor lady rest in peace now free from depression and estrangement
No thoughts for the driver or the passer by who happened to witness the whole thing then?

Killing yourself via train is about as public as suicide gets.
And your ignorance is now very public too
Might be ignorant but I guarantee if you've ever witnessed it firsthand you won't care about that. You'll care about your own mind and how it will NEVER be the same again.

Also guarantee that she's not the only one thinking that.
[quote][p][bold]thesouth[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]KayleighJade[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]sparkster[/bold] wrote: What lovely compassionate comments above, the poor lady was trying to help herself by going to the GP etc. Depression is a terrible thing, you can look fine on the outside but its very different on the inside, I know i've been there, may the poor lady rest in peace now free from depression and estrangement[/p][/quote]No thoughts for the driver or the passer by who happened to witness the whole thing then? Killing yourself via train is about as public as suicide gets.[/p][/quote]And your ignorance is now very public too[/p][/quote]Might be ignorant but I guarantee if you've ever witnessed it firsthand you won't care about that. You'll care about your own mind and how it will NEVER be the same again. Also guarantee that she's not the only one thinking that. camerajuan
  • Score: 4

1:45pm Mon 4 Aug 14

sparkster says...

if you read my first post KayleighJade you will see that I said I feel for the driver. Im also looking at things from the woman's view
if you read my first post KayleighJade you will see that I said I feel for the driver. Im also looking at things from the woman's view sparkster
  • Score: 4

2:27pm Mon 4 Aug 14

thesouth says...

camerajuan wrote:
thesouth wrote:
KayleighJade wrote:
sparkster wrote:
What lovely compassionate comments above, the poor lady was trying to help herself by going to the GP etc. Depression is a terrible thing, you can look fine on the outside but its very different on the inside, I know i've been there, may the poor lady rest in peace now free from depression and estrangement
No thoughts for the driver or the passer by who happened to witness the whole thing then?

Killing yourself via train is about as public as suicide gets.
And your ignorance is now very public too
Might be ignorant but I guarantee if you've ever witnessed it firsthand you won't care about that. You'll care about your own mind and how it will NEVER be the same again.

Also guarantee that she's not the only one thinking that.
I do see it. A lot. Hence my lack of ignorance.
[quote][p][bold]camerajuan[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]thesouth[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]KayleighJade[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]sparkster[/bold] wrote: What lovely compassionate comments above, the poor lady was trying to help herself by going to the GP etc. Depression is a terrible thing, you can look fine on the outside but its very different on the inside, I know i've been there, may the poor lady rest in peace now free from depression and estrangement[/p][/quote]No thoughts for the driver or the passer by who happened to witness the whole thing then? Killing yourself via train is about as public as suicide gets.[/p][/quote]And your ignorance is now very public too[/p][/quote]Might be ignorant but I guarantee if you've ever witnessed it firsthand you won't care about that. You'll care about your own mind and how it will NEVER be the same again. Also guarantee that she's not the only one thinking that.[/p][/quote]I do see it. A lot. Hence my lack of ignorance. thesouth
  • Score: 3

2:35pm Mon 4 Aug 14

KayleighJade says...

thesouth wrote:
KayleighJade wrote:
sparkster wrote:
What lovely compassionate comments above, the poor lady was trying to help herself by going to the GP etc. Depression is a terrible thing, you can look fine on the outside but its very different on the inside, I know i've been there, may the poor lady rest in peace now free from depression and estrangement
No thoughts for the driver or the passer by who happened to witness the whole thing then?

Killing yourself via train is about as public as suicide gets.
And your ignorance is now very public too
Don't quite see how it's ignorant. When it's true.
[quote][p][bold]thesouth[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]KayleighJade[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]sparkster[/bold] wrote: What lovely compassionate comments above, the poor lady was trying to help herself by going to the GP etc. Depression is a terrible thing, you can look fine on the outside but its very different on the inside, I know i've been there, may the poor lady rest in peace now free from depression and estrangement[/p][/quote]No thoughts for the driver or the passer by who happened to witness the whole thing then? Killing yourself via train is about as public as suicide gets.[/p][/quote]And your ignorance is now very public too[/p][/quote]Don't quite see how it's ignorant. When it's true. KayleighJade
  • Score: 2

3:55pm Mon 4 Aug 14

camerajuan says...

thesouth wrote:
camerajuan wrote:
thesouth wrote:
KayleighJade wrote:
sparkster wrote:
What lovely compassionate comments above, the poor lady was trying to help herself by going to the GP etc. Depression is a terrible thing, you can look fine on the outside but its very different on the inside, I know i've been there, may the poor lady rest in peace now free from depression and estrangement
No thoughts for the driver or the passer by who happened to witness the whole thing then?

Killing yourself via train is about as public as suicide gets.
And your ignorance is now very public too
Might be ignorant but I guarantee if you've ever witnessed it firsthand you won't care about that. You'll care about your own mind and how it will NEVER be the same again.

Also guarantee that she's not the only one thinking that.
I do see it. A lot. Hence my lack of ignorance.
You see people kill themselves in front of trains a lot?

You must be the unluckiest trainspotter on Earth. I'd pick a new bridge.
[quote][p][bold]thesouth[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]camerajuan[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]thesouth[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]KayleighJade[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]sparkster[/bold] wrote: What lovely compassionate comments above, the poor lady was trying to help herself by going to the GP etc. Depression is a terrible thing, you can look fine on the outside but its very different on the inside, I know i've been there, may the poor lady rest in peace now free from depression and estrangement[/p][/quote]No thoughts for the driver or the passer by who happened to witness the whole thing then? Killing yourself via train is about as public as suicide gets.[/p][/quote]And your ignorance is now very public too[/p][/quote]Might be ignorant but I guarantee if you've ever witnessed it firsthand you won't care about that. You'll care about your own mind and how it will NEVER be the same again. Also guarantee that she's not the only one thinking that.[/p][/quote]I do see it. A lot. Hence my lack of ignorance.[/p][/quote]You see people kill themselves in front of trains a lot? You must be the unluckiest trainspotter on Earth. I'd pick a new bridge. camerajuan
  • Score: 5

4:38pm Mon 4 Aug 14

elvisimo says...

KayleighJade wrote:
sparkster wrote:
What lovely compassionate comments above, the poor lady was trying to help herself by going to the GP etc. Depression is a terrible thing, you can look fine on the outside but its very different on the inside, I know i've been there, may the poor lady rest in peace now free from depression and estrangement
No thoughts for the driver or the passer by who happened to witness the whole thing then?

Killing yourself via train is about as public as suicide gets.
there had to be one didn't there...
[quote][p][bold]KayleighJade[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]sparkster[/bold] wrote: What lovely compassionate comments above, the poor lady was trying to help herself by going to the GP etc. Depression is a terrible thing, you can look fine on the outside but its very different on the inside, I know i've been there, may the poor lady rest in peace now free from depression and estrangement[/p][/quote]No thoughts for the driver or the passer by who happened to witness the whole thing then? Killing yourself via train is about as public as suicide gets.[/p][/quote]there had to be one didn't there... elvisimo
  • Score: 4

7:21pm Mon 4 Aug 14

KayleighJade says...

elvisimo wrote:
KayleighJade wrote:
sparkster wrote:
What lovely compassionate comments above, the poor lady was trying to help herself by going to the GP etc. Depression is a terrible thing, you can look fine on the outside but its very different on the inside, I know i've been there, may the poor lady rest in peace now free from depression and estrangement
No thoughts for the driver or the passer by who happened to witness the whole thing then?

Killing yourself via train is about as public as suicide gets.
there had to be one didn't there...
I don't quite understand. One what?
[quote][p][bold]elvisimo[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]KayleighJade[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]sparkster[/bold] wrote: What lovely compassionate comments above, the poor lady was trying to help herself by going to the GP etc. Depression is a terrible thing, you can look fine on the outside but its very different on the inside, I know i've been there, may the poor lady rest in peace now free from depression and estrangement[/p][/quote]No thoughts for the driver or the passer by who happened to witness the whole thing then? Killing yourself via train is about as public as suicide gets.[/p][/quote]there had to be one didn't there...[/p][/quote]I don't quite understand. One what? KayleighJade
  • Score: 2

10:08pm Mon 4 Aug 14

Turtlebay says...

I can't understand why so many people here attack the writers of conflicting views.

We are ALL entitled to write our views, it's not a Police State - YET!

Why don't they fit 'cow catchers' to British trains which push potential suicides aside without injuring them fatally?
I can't understand why so many people here attack the writers of conflicting views. We are ALL entitled to write our views, it's not a Police State - YET! Why don't they fit 'cow catchers' to British trains which push potential suicides aside without injuring them fatally? Turtlebay
  • Score: 1

11:10am Tue 5 Aug 14

camerajuan says...

Turtlebay wrote:
I can't understand why so many people here attack the writers of conflicting views.

We are ALL entitled to write our views, it's not a Police State - YET!

Why don't they fit 'cow catchers' to British trains which push potential suicides aside without injuring them fatally?
I think that would be a costly and time consuming solution.

The way I see it, suicide (especially public suicide) is an absolute last resort of a desperate person. They are thinking about nothing but ending their own life to escape the mess it's become. What they are not thinking about is the mess they will leave behind when train drivers see their last expression. Passengers on the platform see another human being die - and possibly be hit by human debris. Hundreds of passengers trapped miles from home, maybe missing connections for their next leg of their journey - or even missing a flight - costing them untold amounts of money for last minute tickets.

Suicide in public affects so many more people than the family of the deceased. This causes it to seem selfish. And it is, but that's not an attack on the victim or the health system. I see from both ends because I've witnessed it first hand and been a victim of it through a friend. It's horrific and it's not the answer. No matter your feelings, there is always help somewhere if you are willing to look for it as self inflicted public death will only cause more pain.
[quote][p][bold]Turtlebay[/bold] wrote: I can't understand why so many people here attack the writers of conflicting views. We are ALL entitled to write our views, it's not a Police State - YET! Why don't they fit 'cow catchers' to British trains which push potential suicides aside without injuring them fatally?[/p][/quote]I think that would be a costly and time consuming solution. The way I see it, suicide (especially public suicide) is an absolute last resort of a desperate person. They are thinking about nothing but ending their own life to escape the mess it's become. What they are not thinking about is the mess they will leave behind when train drivers see their last expression. Passengers on the platform see another human being die - and possibly be hit by human debris. Hundreds of passengers trapped miles from home, maybe missing connections for their next leg of their journey - or even missing a flight - costing them untold amounts of money for last minute tickets. Suicide in public affects so many more people than the family of the deceased. This causes it to seem selfish. And it is, but that's not an attack on the victim or the health system. I see from both ends because I've witnessed it first hand and been a victim of it through a friend. It's horrific and it's not the answer. No matter your feelings, there is always help somewhere if you are willing to look for it as self inflicted public death will only cause more pain. camerajuan
  • Score: -1

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