A WOMAN suffering from a mental illness died after jogging along a railway track towards an oncoming train, Hatfield Coroners Court heard on Monday, January 12.

Ms Janet Kavanagh of Guessens Court, Welwyn Garden City, was hit by the train which was travelling at up to 80 mph.

She died at Welwyn Garden City Railway Station on August 26. She was 60.

The court heard how Ms Kavanagh had suffered from a form of schizophrenia for most of her adult life and had moved to Welwyn Garden City from London three months before her death to be closer to her family.

Dr Naomi Fineberg who treated Ms Kavanagh said she was often in a very depressed and muddled state and had harmed herself in the past.

In July Ms Kavanagh was admitted to the QEII Hospital after a relapse.

She was released a week later and put under the care of a community support team.

After frequent visits to Ms Kavanagh's home, staff reported an improvement and noted she had gone to the hairdressers a week before her death.

But on August 26 around 10am, several witnesses reported seeing Ms Kavanagh drop down from the platform at Welwyn Garden City station.

In a report read to the court, Mr Neil Shepherd said he was driving a train from Kings Cross to Leeds through the station when he noticed a woman standing on the track and sounded his horn before hitting the emergency brake.

It was then that Ms Kavanagh jogged towards the oncoming train. Mr Shepherd said he knew what she was doing.

Sergeant Dave Humphryes of the British Transport Police told the inquest that it would take up to a mile for a train travelling at such a speed to come to a halt In a statement Ms Kavanagh's sister Mary Ashman described her sister as a very attractive woman who enjoyed classical music and ballet, but whose mental illness proved to be her dark shadow.

Coroner Edward Thomas added: "It is clear to me that if she didn't suffer with a mental illness she would not have died.

"She was presenting the sign to everyone that she was well but I suspect that at that time her mental illness was just too much for her."

He recorded a verdict of suicide because she suffered from mental illness.