A HAMPSHIRE footballer sent a text message to his mother moments before he died after being struck by a train, an inquest heard.

Patrick Edward Norum told his mum his life was like “a neverending nightmare”, the inquest was told.

The footballer, who played for Lyndhust FC, was said to have “turned a corner” earlier this year.

But after a failed reconciliation of a relationship he was said to be a “shell of himself” and he was thinking about previous break-ups.

On July 16 this year he sent a message to his mother saying that he was sorry for letting everyone down before he died on the rail tracks in Totton.

A statement read from train driver Matthew Birkin at an inquest into his death at Winchester Coroner’s Court said: “I suddenly noticed a man appear from the undergrowth. As soon as I saw him I began to apply the emergency brakes.”

Emergency services were called and the 30-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene.

His work van was parked nearby and contained pictures and a letter.

In the days before his death Mr Norum, formerly of Romsey Road, Lyndhurst, was reported missing and when he was found returning to his new home in Christchurch he told officers that he had been parked up at a bridge for four hours to “build up the courage to jump”.

Patrick’s boss Mark Barber said: “[Patrick had] got steadily worse over the last two years. Used to Patrick being an outgoing funny individual, he had become more introverted and quiet.”

The inquest was told that the keen Saints fan had been struggling with mental health issues for years, but had dipped in and out of mental health support, and occasionally stopped replying to services which he would then be removed from.

However, he had previously undergone counselling and prescribed medication.

Senior coroner Christopher Wilkinson said he believed Patrick “got himself in a situation he thought he couldn’t get himself out of” and recorded a conclusion of suicide.

An investigation by the British Transport Police revealed that there were faults with a gate next to the railway but these were said to be being fixed.