A man drowned after handcuffing himself to a bicycle and deliberately falling off a bridge, an inquest heard yesterday.
Norfolk Coroner William Armstrong said Andrew James’ “bizarre suicide” followed many years of anxiety, depression and alcohol problems.
He spoke of the awful trauma suffered by two highways workers who were operating stop/go boards near the bridge in Mill Road, St Germans, at 3.20pm on August 7 last year and saw Mr James drown.
One of the men, Lee Thacker, described Mr James fiddling with the handcuffs and holding his bicycle over the side of the bridge. He then climbed over the rails himself and held on briefly before letting go.
Mr Armstrong said: “There was nothing you could or should have done. I’m sure it will never leave your minds. If you need to get some help and talk this through you should not hesitate.”
The inquest heard that on the morning before his death, Mr James had trimmed hedges at the home he lived in with his mother in Garden Road, St Germans, and also for a neighbour, and seemed normal.
Mr Armstrong also spoke to Mr James’ relatives about the dreadful tragedy.
“You struggled to help him for many years. No member of his family or his partner could have done more to help him. He was, sadly, beyond help, Despite the love and care he received, he was determined to bring his life to an end,” said Mr Armstrong.
Mr James’ sister, Paula, told the inquest he had problems since he was 15. Four years ago, he gave up his job as a gas engineer, which he was very good at. She believed it was because he had to drive every day and could not stop drinking.
He had twice previously attempted suicide. He had been offered medical help and CADS support but never accepted it.
She added: “In the earlier days, he was a really loving, caring brother, son and dad.”