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Wife of Army major threw herself to death in front of 100mph train 'while suffering severe post-natal depression'

    Emma Cadywould, University researcher, found it 'hard to cope' with six-month-old son
    Inquest heard she was supported by husband, Major Steve Cadywould
    Baby Harrison would wake 20 times a night
    Family say she had expressed suicidal thoughts but talked of 'normal domestic' matters on day of her death

By Ellie Buchdahl

PUBLISHED: 17:43, 18 September 2013 | UPDATED: 13:05, 19 September 2013

The wife of an Army Major became severely depressed after the birth of her son and threw herself underneath a 100mph train, a coroner heard today.

Emma Cadywould had been struggling to cope after a series of sleepless nights in the six months since the birth of baby Harrison.

The 32-year-old - known to her friends as Emsie - was supported by her husband, Major Steve Cadywould, and their extended family, but could not adjust to her new life.

The inquest at Salisbury, Wiltshire, heard how the baby would wake up to 20 times a night.

Mrs Cadywould suffered a breakdown and began to lose her hair.

She regularly told loved ones she wanted to be at peace and expressed suicidal thoughts as her life spiralled out of control.

Despite contact with the community mental health team and being prescribed anti-depressant medication, she decided to end her life.

On the day she killed herself, Major Cadywould had breakfast with his wife and she dressed their baby and later drove him to nursery.

They had discussed 'normal domestic' issues, but there was nothing out of the ordinary.

Major Cadywould, who had been taking military commander exams in the days leading to his wife’s death, said: 'I believe she took care to conceal it (her suicidal thoughts) from me.

'She didn’t even tell me about the way she was feeling so I was unaware she had those thoughts.

'She didn’t talk to me about thinking about harming herself.'

The University of Bristol researcher for the department of East Asian studies was later killed at a junction near Swindon, Wiltshire, on December 16, 2011.

Train driver Christopher Woodley was in the cab of the train from London Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads when he heard a 'loud bang' while going over a bridge at a speed of approximately 105mph, he said in his statement.

He added that the sun had been very bright shining into the car and it was difficult to see, even though he was wearing sunglasses.

The coroner was told that Mr Woodley slowed to 50mph, believing it was a deer hitting the train, which was not uncommon incident in that area.

He continued the journey a few minutes more into a station where he got out and saw a small amount of blood on the coupling iron.

The nose end door had been pushed in and there was damage to the front bodywork, but he said there was nothing to indicate that the train might have struck a person.

Mrs Cadywould's body was later discovered by officers from British Transport Police at the impact spot.

Mrs Cadywould, of Saxon Orchard, Watchfield, Swindon, was found to have died from 'multiple injuries from an impact,' a post-mortem examination found.

Toxicology results showed prescription anti-depressants in her bloodstream.

Today Major Cadywould, 36, told how difficult his wife had found the weeks after Harrison's birth at Great Western Hospital in Swindon.

'It was a rapid ejection after the birth. We left after four hours. It was made clear to us at the beginning that they have a quick turnaround,' he said.

'I think it was quite a shock - the whole process.'

He added: 'As time elapsed Harrison was difficult to get into a routine.

'The whole night from day, day from night, feeding. There was no routine. She found that very difficult with broken sleep.

'He was a very fretful baby. He would wake 10 to 20 times in the night. Sometimes there would be 20 minutes between his waking.'

Both took it in turns to look after Harrison but his father began to take further responsibility when his wife couldn’t cope.

'There was a sudden change,' he said.

'The first time the crisis team arrived and Emma went to stay with her parents.

'I then went to take over full time responsibility of Harrison. I think it had come to a point she could no longer cope.

'Physically she was OK, but mentally she wasn’t coping. She suffered some hair loss late on.'

He went on: 'We had asked the crisis team about going to hospital but were told in these situations that the preferable course of action was to be with the family.'

Mrs Cadywould later spent a period of 11 days with the community mental health team in October 2011, the hearing was told.

The couple were married in December 2007 and Harrison was born on June 1, 2011.

Harrison interacted well at nursery but found it hard to settle at home, the hearing was told.

Paying tribute to her on a fundraising website, sister Lucie said: 'My only sister Emma was tragically lost by all who loved and cherished her, due to an illness which is wildly unacknowledged or taken less seriously than it should be.

'Since we lost Emma we have become aware of some astonishing and desperately sad statistics. In the UK, one mother a week will be totally overwhelmed by post natal depression and will tragically be lost to a loving family.

'Post-natal depression is a silent killer. As a family, we will always keep our memories of our wonderful Emsie alive.

'My nephew Harrison is an accolade to my sister and the wonderful mummy she was to him.'

Mrs Cadywould's mother, Janet Holland, told the inquest her daughter struggled as a new parent.

'She said she was unsure if she could be a mum,' said Mrs Holland.

'I did not like the way she was feeling. In short she wanted her old life back. A life where she had regular sleep and she could do what she wanted before having Harrison. She was a light sleeper and the lack of sleep was a major factor in her problems.

'She continued to receive support from her family but she seemed unaware she was suffering from some sort of depression.She lacked motivation, self esteem and confidence.

'She wanted a natural birth, which she had. She was discharged four hours after giving birth.

'It was her first baby and she had to leave the hospital so soon after having the first baby was traumatic for her.'

Mrs Holland, who confirmed her daughter had had a trouble-free pregnancy, went on: 'I saw quite a lot of her latterly as she wasn't coping well. The first few months I was unaware there was anything wrong.'

She said her daughter had texted her after three months asking for help because she was struggling.
'She had been receiving plenty of support from Steve, his mother, as well as her family,' Mrs Holland said.

'When I got to the house she was pacing up and down and seemed unable to cope. She was saying irrational things like: "Take me away. Take the baby away."'

Mrs Holland said her daughter had begun counselling sessions with psychologist Dr Kola Ige in October, who said he believed she would improve by Christmas told me that we would see an improvement by Christmas.

Mrs Holland told how her daughter began losing her hair after her breakdown and later decided to have her hair cut short.

She said her daughter told her she had three options in life: 'One, to stay at home with Steve and Harrison; two, to leave Steve and Harrison and return to live here; or three, not to be here and be at peace.

'She wanted our approval to let her go,' Mrs Holland added.
Concerns: Husband Steve said his wife had sought help from professionals for her depression

Concerns: Husband Steve said his wife had sought help from professionals for her depression

'I last saw her the day before she died. I came home from work. All she wanted me to do was to hold her and cuddle her.

'On the morning of her death I missed a call from her as I was driving. I rang her back immediately but she did not answer. I received a text saying she was driving Harrison to nursery and would then be going home.

'Later that day I received news of her death from Steve and had a visit from police officers.'

Mrs Holland said that from the day she had her breakdown, her daughter was talking about 'not being here' in mid-October.

Paying tribute to her daughter, she told the inquest: 'We would like to acknowledge Emma for being the young woman she was before her life ended so tragically.

'Emma was beautiful and intelligent and enjoyed life to the full. She had a wicked sense of humour and would always make you laugh.

'Emma worked hard and achieved a great deal in her 32 years. She loved her family and was a wonderful daughter, sister and mum. She was loving, kind caring and thoughtful.

'Emma was honest and straightforward, would speak her own mind and always say things exactly as it was and everyone admired her for this.'

The inquest - expected to last three days - continues.