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Train death photojournalist ‘did not get help he needed’, inquest hears

Jon SeymourA photojournalist who took his own life did not always get the help he needed despite previous suicide attempts, an inquest has heard.

Coroner Simon Milburn has ruled a verdict of suicide following the death of Jon Seymour, who provided news and events coverage for the Lynn News.

Jon, pictured, died in September aged 50 after being struck by a train in King’s Lynn.

Norfolk Coroner’s Court heard he had a history of depression and alcohol dependency and had previously taken around eight overdoses, although the coroner said not all of them were with suicidal intentions.

In the last year of his life, Jon was admitted to A&E on five separate occasions following overdoses – but each time was deemed well enough to be discharged into community mental health care.

In a written statement, Jon’s widow Sharon Seymour said her husband was discharged a couple of days after each A&E visit and that one mental health professional he saw suggested watching “mindfulness videos” on YouTube.

Mrs Seymour added he did not always receive the help he needed due to staff absence or holiday, according to a report of the inquest by the Lynn News.

Paying tribute to her “outgoing” husband, she said: “Jon was very outgoing and would often be photographing music events and wildlife.”

The hearing at County Hall, in Norwich, also heard from Dr Sunday Akin Bamikole, Jon’s GP, who had 15 contacts with him in the 12 months prior to his death.

Norfolk Police officers who attended the scene where Jon’s body was discovered told the court they had found a notebook in his possession with suicidal thoughts written in it, while a note addressed to Mrs Seymour said: “I want to thank you for everything, I love you and I’m sorry.”

Hannah Baxter-Warnes, a mental health practitioner who was seeing Jon, said he had not told her about having any suicidal thoughts and that he was planning on photographing upcoming events.

Jon had also told Nicola Young, clinical team lead at the Crisis Resolution & Home Treatment Team, he was “living off the grid” and “wanted to be left alone”.

Jon was best known for reporting on and photographing many of King’s Lynn’s major musical events for the News.

He also covered other news items including exam results and King’s Lynn & West Norfolk Pride for the paper.

* If you have been affected by any of the issues in this story, you can call the Samaritans helpline on 116 123.