A LOVING grandfather left notes to his family before jumping off an A12 bridge where he was hit by a caravan.

Last July Jeffrey O’Brien, 75, had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act after arriving at Colchester Hospital’s accident and emergency department with cuts to his wrists.

Due to a lack of available beds in Colchester, he was taken to St Margaret’s Hospital, in Epping.

An inquest at Chelmsford Coroner’s Court heard he was initially highly agitated and was deemed a threat to himself and others, but his condition improved after a change to his medication.

The coroner was told he began to take part in occupational therapy, including gardening at the hospital, reading the newspaper and engaging with fellow patients.

He was eventually allowed to make trips into town without an escort.

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The inquest heard Mr O’Brien, from Colchester, had talked of a plan to move to Wales after leaving hospital.

A plan had been made with his doctor for him to remain in Colchester for a while, where he could access medical care and be near his family.

The inquest heard his wife drove his car to the hospital the night before he left.

On August 20, Mr O’Brien told hospital staff he was going to take the car out for a short test drive and assured them he would return.

But when he didn’t come back, the alarm was raised.

Mr O’Brien instead drove to Marks Tey, where he parked his car and climbed onto a bridge over the A12. He was witnessed climbing over a protective barrier before deliberately jumping onto the road.

He was hit by a caravan, with the inquest hearing the driver had little time to react.

A nearby on-duty police officer immediately closed the road and paramedics declared Mr O’Brien dead at the scene at about 1.50pm.

The inquest heard two notes were found in his hospital room, alongside a crime mystery novel with certain passages highlighted.

The notes included requests to his family on planning his funeral.

Assistant coroner Tina Harrington said: “It is plain in my view, and I would make a finding of fact, those notes showed that Mr O’Brien intended to take his own life.

“Unfortunately Mr O’Brien hid his intentions from the medical staff, therefore, sadly, nothing further could have been done for him.”

She added: “I think it is regrettable that an assessment to see whether he was suitable for cognitive behaviour therapy didn’t take place, but there is no evidence at all to support any finding that even if such an assessment were to have taken place that assessment would have prevented the events which took place on August 20.”

The inquest heard Mr O’Brien’s family described him as a “very fun” stepfather and a “loving and fun” grandfather.

Born in Wales, he had joined the army at the age of 16 and saw active service during his six years with the armed forces.

After leaving the army, he worked as a coach driver and lorry driver, marrying his wife at the age of 45.

  • Anyone who is feeling low or needs help can call the Samaritans at any time on 116 123.