A train driver who took his own life by drink driving into a tree at 120mph had come out to his dad as gay just hours before, an inquest heard.
Paul Rostron, 34, drove his black Mercedes at excessive speed while three times over the drink limit after telling a friend he was going to take his life by crashing his car.
Bolton Coroners Court heard on Wednesday how Paul died when his car struck a signpost, flipped into the air, crashed into a tree and hit a parked van on November 24 last year.
The court heard that the car hit a tree with such force that the tree broke in half, while the car was also completely split apart.
Emergency services rushed to the scene after reports of a collision near the Smithills School car park in Bolton, Gtr Mcr., but sadly Paul was pronounced dead at the scene.
An inquest into his death was told how in the hours before his death, the 34-year-old had been to see his father and came out as gay to him.
He also left voice messages to his close friend Andrew McHugh telling him he intended to take his own life despite saying he was relieved his father ‘accepted him’.
Mr McHugh tried to talk him out of it, but Paul hung up and would not answer any further calls.
Mr McHugh said: “We were very good friends, almost like family. He rang me on November 24 and he seemed to be in quite good spirits.
“He’d been on a dinner date the night before which went well, and he was relieved his father had accepted him.”
The court was told that Paul was deeply affected by his failure to get a pilot’s licence when he was younger, as well as his mother’s death in 2019.
In the weeks leading up to Paul’s death, he had split up with his partner of a year and due to ‘mix-up’ with his work medical which left him unable to work.
On November 24, Paul had messaged his Transpennine Express colleague Jason Parkinson saying his medical was the next day, and he was having a few glasses of wine with lunch.
Mr Parkinson said: “Paul did enjoy a drink but he wasn’t dependent on alcohol and he was very strict.
“He knew if he was driving he wouldn’t drink at all. But when it was his time off he enjoyed it.”
Dr Patrick Waugh told that court the medical cause of death was multiple injuries due to the crash, including catastrophic injuries to his brain, lungs and liver.
A toxicology report revealed that Paul had an alcohol level of 240mg per 100ml of blood – three times the drink drive limit.
The court was also told that a police report showed that Paul had been driving through Smithills Dean Road – a 30mph road – at speeds in the excess of 120mph.
The car veered on the bend and crashed into a tree which snapped in two before colliding with a van.
Collision investigation officer Sgt Pye said: “The airbags were all deployed but they would not have made any difference.
“Once the car lost control there was nothing the driver could do about it at this speed.”
Assistant coroner for Manchester West Stephen Teasdale gave his conclusion of suicide.
Mr Teasdale said: “He had tried to end his life earlier that day and he had told his friends of his intentions.
“This takes into account the amount of alcohol consumed and his history of depression, along with the messages that he had left with his friends prior to his death and the manner in which he drove down the hill with no intention of breaking.
“He was tying up loose ends and had been drinking during the day. I pass on my condolences to his family, in particular to his father.”
Speaking at the time of the crash, Paul’s family said: “To say we are devastated as a family is an understatement.
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“Our Paul was a much loved son, brother, uncle, cousin and friend to many. A true gentleman in every sense of the word, he had a heart filled with kindness and was the epitome of old school etiquette and chivalry.
“Paul, we will miss you beyond words.
“We would like to thank everyone for their support during this most difficult of times. Our family will now take the time we need to grieve in private.”
For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email email@example.com, visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.