Marriage break-up may have led to Wigan dad-of-three's suicide

An inquest into the death of a Wigan dad has found that the breakdown of his marriage may have caused him to take his own life.
Bolton Coroner's CourtBolton Coroner's Court
Bolton Coroner's Court

A hearing into the death of 45-year-old Christopher John Robinson, held at Bolton Coroner’s Court, concluded that the railway worker faced a number of challenges in the lead up to his death in September, culminating with the receipt of divorce papers two days before he hanged himself.

The court heard how Mr Robinson, who worked as a platform security officer for Virgin Trains, had gone through a number of health issues before his death including a work-related HIV scare.

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In an incident prior to his taking his own life, the father-of-three had been cleaning up rubbish at the railway station where he was punctured with a used needle, leading to a number of HIV and hepatitis C blood tests - all of which came back clear bar one which remained outstanding at the time of his death.

However, Coroner Timothy Brennand ruled that although the tests would have cast “lingering doubt” into Mr Robinson’s mind, he did not feel it was the motivation for his eventual suicide.

A statement put together by Mr Robinson’s sister, Sarah, explained how her brother, a former RAF and Army serviceman, had been married in the 1990s and had two children with his ex-wife.

Following the breakdown of this relationship, he had limited contact with his two sons which caused him “emotional distress” for years following the divorce.

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In 2009 he married his second wife, Joanna, and had another son with her before the relationship broke down in 2016.

The family statement said: “He wasn’t one for sharing things, he was a very private man.

“He only let you know what he wanted you to know.

“He wouldn’t want to share his burdens.”

The court heard how on Thursday September 14, two days before Mr Robinson was found dead at his home on Crabtree Road, Worsley Hall, by his now 20-year-old son, Carl, he had sent a text message to his sister to say that the divorce papers had come through.

A police search later revealed the papers torn up and put in a bin near to his body.

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A statement from Carl which was read out to the hearing, said: “My dad had been feeling depressed since the separation.

“As a result of this he had been to the doctor and had been taking antidepressants.”

Mr Brennand heard evidence from Dr David Barker, pathologist for St Helens and Knowsley NHS Trust, who concluded that there had been a “low level” of alcohol found during Mr Robinson’s toxicology examination, meaning that he was not incapacitated by alcohol at the time he decided to take his own life.

Despite the lack of a suicide note, Mr Brennand concluded that Mr Robinson deliberately meant to take his own life, Mr Brennand said: “He was a much loved partner, husband, family member, neighbour and member of the community.

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“He was a man of few words, especially when it came to a declaration of his feelings.

“His actions spoke louder than his words.”