Care Questions Raised Over Man Killed By Train

Questions have continued to be asked over the care given to a city man who died after stepping in front of a train.

As revealed in yesterday’s Echo, Nigel Riddle, 52, who suffered from mental health problems for many years, was killed instantly after walking into the path of train near Powderham Castle.

His brother Ian paid tribute to the former pilot, and said the death was a tragedy for all involved.

And his former neighbour Prudence Baker claimed the system had failed her friend.

Mrs Baker, 24, who knew Mr Riddle when she and her husband Lewis lived next door to him in Church Road, St Thomas, said she was shocked to hear of the sudden death.

She claimed the authorities should have done more to help him.

Mrs Baker, who now lives in Northernhay, said: “He asked for help and he did not get anything. After all these incidents, it seems that nobody really cared about him.

“It is really unfair. He was so caring to other people. He must have been at the end of his tether to step in front of a train.”

She added: “He absolutely should have had more help. He was a proud man and an intelligent man and would not have asked for help from his friends.

“If there was somewhere that could have helped him, he would still be here today.

“He was a really genuine guy. He used to come over to our flat and spend time with us even though we are a young couple and he is in his 50s.

“We knew he had alcohol problems but he seemed to be coping.”

Mr Riddle had a history of alcohol troubles and suffered from bi-polar and manic depression.

He had been in trouble with the police on several occasions due to offending stemming from his mental health issues and had recently told a crown court judge that he had been trying to get help for years.

Ian Riddle, Nigel’s older brother who lives in London and works for the New Zealand Government, said: “It is a tragedy for Nigel and his family and friends. It has also no doubt deeply affected other people such as the train driver and British Transport Police at the scene.

“He was very fun loving but undoubtedly troubled at times. He really did love a laugh and he will be missed. There is no doubt that he had problems stretching back 20 years.

“Another element of the tragedy is that he had been doing so well with the support and guidance of close friends. It looked like he was overcoming his problems.”

He said his brother felt the authorities were pressurising him rather than assisting him in the run-up to him taking his life last week.

Nigel, who has another older brother Howard, who lives in London and is a district judge, was born in Kent and went to a private school.

At the age of 17 he organised a major pop concert and moved to Scotland where he worked as a light plane instructor teaching people how to fly. He moved to Exeter around 10 years ago after his father died.

Ian said: “He was an intelligent man and quite adventurous. It is fair to say he had a largely undiagnosed mental problem which he disguised with alcohol and there is no doubt he had a drinks problem for many years.”

The probation service said they could not comment on individual cases.

The Devon Partnership Trust, which assists people with mental health issues, said it was unable to confirm whether Mr Riddle had been a patient.

Nigel’s ‘green’ funeral will be held at Crossways Woodland Burials, in Cheriton Bishop, on Friday, at 2pm. The family have asked for charitable donations and suggest they could be made to the Charities Aid Foundation, .