Lincolnshire

Cherry Willingham rail suicide elderly pair 'could not cope'

Lincoln Cathedral Centre Image copyright Google
Image caption An inquest at Lincoln Cathedral Centre heard Peter and Betty Smith died after walking on to a level crossing

An elderly couple took their own lives after struggling to cope when their daughter and her partner moved in with them, an inquest has heard.

Peter Smith, 80, and his wife Betty, 78, left home in Cherry Willingham, Lincolnshire, and were struck by a train on an unmanned level crossing.

The inquest heard they did not react when a freight train sounded its horn.

Recording suicide verdicts, coroner Stuart Fisher described the case as "immensely tragic".

The driver of the train applied his brakes but was unable to stop in time, central Lincolnshire coroner Mr Fisher heard during the inquest at Lincoln Cathedral Centre.

The Smiths, who had been married more than 50 years, had told friends they were struggling to cope financially after their middle-aged daughter and her boyfriend moved in.

The couple's daughter did not attend the hearing, but in a statement read out to the court, she said her parents had never mentioned any financial problems to her.

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