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Felixstowe: Depression led man to jump from Port of Felixstowe crane

PUBLISHED: 12:00 28 March 2012

Rubber-tyred gantry cranes at the Port of Felixstowe

Rubber-tyred gantry cranes at the Port of Felixstowe


FELIXSTOWE: A contract port worker who was suffering a severe mental illness died when he sustained multiple injuries jumping from a crane, an inquest has heard.

Colin Watkinson, who lived in Winfarthing, Norfolk, was discovered by Port of Felixstowe police at the foot of an unattended crane on December 28 last year.

At an inquest into his death at Ip-City yesterday, Greater Suffolk coroner Dr Peter Dean said Mr Watkinson had been treated for depression in the days leading up to his death.

He said while he was given medication, none of the doctors who assessed him feared he was suicidal.

Dr Dean said that there was evidence Mr Watkinson went to the docks “with the intention of doing what he did” and said it was “clear he did that as a direct response to the illness he was suffering”.

But the coroner added: “There is no suggestion in a normal state of mind that he would have taken that action.”

The inquest heard the police officer who found Mr Watkinson’s body on the ground, close to a crane, attempted to give the 52-year-old CPR before paramedics arrived.

The day prior to his death Mr Watkinson was seen by an out-of-hours doctor after his wife and neighbours raised fears about his health.

He was seen by his own GP at a follow-up appointment on the morning of his death.

Dr Dean said it was noted when Mr Watkinson, who worked as an engineer for contractors Serco, arrived at the port, he spoke to an officer at the port’s police station, but gave no cause for concern.

“There were no warning signs flagged up to the officer he spoke to,” he said. “He gave his GP no indication of what took place later that day.

“He was clearly much more ill than he seemed on the surface, and was able to mask the severity of his illness.”

Reading parts of a statement by Mr Watkinson’s wife Carol, Dr Dean said she noted her husband had appeared anxious and made reference to looking at the cranes the day before his death.

But Mrs Watkinson said there were no signs or mention of her husband wanting to take his own life.

Dr Dean recorded a verdict that Mr Watkinson took his own life while the balance of his mind was disturbed.

n The Samaritans is always available to talk to anyone in need. Call the helpline on 08457 909090.

n Pay tribute to Colin Watkinson - write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail starnews@archant.co.uk

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