tragedy of mum who stepped in front of a car

Left in tribute... flowers and easy chairs left at the side of the Scarborough-Pickering road where Debbie Goddard died in November last year.
Left in tribute... flowers and easy chairs left at the side of the Scarborough-Pickering road where Debbie Goddard died in November last year.

A CORONER has ruled that a 38-year-old mother-of-three who stepped out into oncoming traffic did so deliberately.

Debbie Goddard, who was living in Wykeham, had been seen by drivers pacing by the side of the the A170 Scarborough to Pickering road before she collided with a Land Rover.

Tragic accident/suicide victim Debbie Goddard. Submitted Picture.'14/07/2011

Tragic accident/suicide victim Debbie Goddard. Submitted Picture.'14/07/2011

Miss Goddard died from multiple injuries in November in what an inquest heard was “a very sad case”.

The inquest was adjourned in March due to concerns over medical evidence. It was re-opened yesterday by deputy coroner John Broadbridge.

He heard that Miss Goddard, who was born in Durban, South Africa, had been treated in Cross Lane Hospital last August.

Dr Neil Mayfield, consulting psychiatrist, said she was convinced she was being watched and that her food was being contaminated.

He said: “She’d taken a significant amount of illegal drugs over the previous two weeks. She didn’t identify a particular individual or agency that was harassing her but she did believe that people were wishing to harm her.”

Dr Mayfield added that she made good progress with her treatment and she was prescribed anti-psychotic drugs before being released in September.

Her continued treatment included 13 home visits – including a number by social worker Mark Wilson who was also involved with her treatment at Cross Lane.

He said that she was planning for her future and had taken steps to get her life back in order.

Mr Wilson had arranged an appointment with her on November 4, the day of her death, but she was not there when he arrived. He added: “It was in the morning. There was no answer and I assumed she was out.”

She had gone to Scarborough to see her daughter, Faye Evans, and she said her mother seemed happy one minute but depressed the next.

Miss Evans said her mother’s mental health had deteriorated and on the morning of her death she had received a text message saying “I love you and I am sorry for everything”.

She said: “She was often telling me that she loved me. She turned up at my flat and hugged me and said she loved me. She was crying at my flat saying it’d be easier for us all if she wasn’t here anymore. She was really happy and smiling but then she started talking about the bridge.”

The bridge in question was a rail bridge in Westwood and the court heard that rail workers had talked her out of jumping from it. Miss Evans said: “I think maybe she wanted to do something on the bridge.”

She said her mother’s behaviour was unusual – but it was how she had behaved for the two months leading up to her death – and she had expected mental health professionals to spot the signs that she might harm herself.

Richard Evans, Miss Goddard’s former partner, had provided a roof over her head after she was discharged from Cross Lane.

He said he had fallen asleep on the night she died and when he woke up he immediately went out to search for her. He added: “I went the other way because I thought she’d headed towards Scarborough. I arrived back home and I was told she had been knocked down on the A170.”

The accident was about 7.25pm and she was pronounced dead at Scarborough Hospital at 8.15pm. According to a post mortem examination carried out by Dr Musa she died as a result of multiple injuries.

Mr Evans said he did not take her threats to kill herself seriously because of her recent behaviour. He said: “She thought people were following her around she thought people were filming her. I was the last person to see Debbie alive.”

The court heard that Miss Goddard had previously been a opiate user but a toxicological report, carried out after her death, found no traces of either drugs or alcohol.

In summing up Mr Broadbridge said that he was convinced Miss Goddard had intended to take her own life.

He added: “This was a desperately sad case. I can only offer my condolences to Miss Evans and Mr Evans.”

Speaking after the verdict Miss Evans said she agreed with the coroner’s decision and added that the family were planning to take legal action over the standard of care her mother had received.