THE former bar manager of Oxford’s Big Society pub was hit by a train just days before his 26th birthday, an inquest heard today.

Nathaniel ‘Nat’ Gould, of Ridgefield Road, Oxford, died at Tuckwells Level Crossing, Hinksey, between 7pm on August 29, and 6.30am on August 30, 2018.

Coroner Darren Salter recorded a verdict of suicide at an inquest into the 25-year-old’s death at Oxford Coroner’s Court this morning.

Tuckwells crossing - pic. Steve Daniels

Mr Salter said: “It’s surprising and sad - Nat was a bright young man doing well in his job and thought well of by his employers and colleagues. It’s extremely sad that his life has come to an end in this way.

“On the balance of probabilities I am satisfied that he did the act with this intention in mind.”

Mr Gould, who would have turned 26 days after his death, had depression and was being ‘chased’ for debts, the court heard. His mother Jessica had also died of cancer earlier in the year.

His father Martin Barnard suggested debt should not be chased by automated services. He said: “I have had some experience of them chasing him (for money). One of the phone calls is automated - if there was a human being there they might sense that and change their approach.”

Mr Barnard explained that the death of Mr Gould's mum was expected but ‘still hit us all hard’ and that Oxford’s cost of living and low wages might have also ‘played a part’.

Mr Salter added that he could not say whether Mr Gould died on August 29 or 30 and that the Carmarthenshire man was not ‘significantly intoxicated’.

Consultant pathologist Dr Lucie Winter’s post mortem report confirmed that minimal alcohol in his system was unlikely to have contributed. She cited depression as a factor.

Dr Huw Jones-Evans, Mr Gould’s GP, explained that he had previously been on anti-depressants.

The coroner also said he would raise the issue of how easy it was to access the track, which has been the scene of other deaths, with the relevant authorities. The crossing has been deemed an ‘extremely high risk’ area.

The inquest came after emergency services had pronounced Mr Gould dead just after 8am, and temporarily closed the line.

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