Taken from the
Western Morning News 16th June 1894

The Shocking Suicide at Plympton

The inquiry into the circumstances attending the death of John Jewell Symons, who resided at 4 Cambridge Lane West, Plymouth and who was killed by the up London express near Plympton on Wednesday evening was held at the Plympton St Mary Union yesterday by the Deputy County Coroner (Mr. R .R. Rodd Jun.).- Mr F.Millman watched the case for the Railway Company. Mr. B. Maddock was chosen foreman of the Jury. - The wife of deceased identified the remains and stated that her husband who was aged 52years left her home on Wednesday morning about half-past eight stating that he should go into the country to see if he could obtain some light employment. Deceased had suffered during the winter from asthma and had complained of being unable to perform his duties at the lawn tennis ground. He had never done anything to lead her to suppose that he had intended to commit suicide. Cross-examined: He was very near sighted and had had cataracts removed from his eyes, but he was not deaf. - Dr. Ellery, surgeon to the Great Western Railway Company, said the deceased had evidently been destroyed by some violent concussion - very probably a train. In his opinion death was instantaneous. - Wm. Horne labourer residing at Plympton deposed to seeing the deceased at Plympton about four o'clock on Wednesday afternoon. He was standing on the railway bridge some distance from the station looking at an injured horse in an adjoining field. About a quarter past eight he noticed deceased in a field close to the railway bridge. He climbed the fence and went down the steps to the line, along which he walked towards Plymouth. Witness fearing something would happen, looked out over the bridge when he saw deceased standing still looking up and down the line. Just then Mr Parker crossed the bridge, and witness said to him. "There's a man down there; I think he means something." Mr Parker told the deceased to get out of the way, and he then walked towards Plympton. Just then the train came up, and the man fell right in front of it, his body being cut to pieces. Thomas John Parker, labourer corroborated. When he called to deceased and told him he was in danger as the signal was down for a train to pass up on that side, the man made no reply, but appeared to hear him, as he held up his hand. He did not see deceased struck by the train. - Mr W. Wills inspector of Plympton Station, said the up mail due about 8.30 pm. was stopped at Plympton on Wednesday evening by the driver. Who reported that a man had been run over just below the lower siding. The driver stated that he saw the man and blew his whistle but there was no opportunity of pulling up. - P.C.Facey said the legs were severed from the trunk, and the head was smashed open. - The coroner in summing up said that from the evidence of the witnesses Horne and Parker no doubt the Jury would Conclude that the deceased had committed suicide whilst in a state of temporary insanity. - The jury suggested that an ambulance should be provided for the district and the coroner promised to communicate with the Plympton Sanitary Authority asking them to provide one.