Mum plunged to death from motorway bridge

A mother-of-two leapt to her death from a motorway bridge, an inquest has been told.

Elaine Warburton, 33, of Cottage Lane, Walton-le-Dale, died in hospital from extensive injuries after plunging from the bridge close to the M6 and M61 junction near Bamber Bridge on August 24.

An inquest into her death at Preston Coroner's Court yesterday was told Mrs Warburton had suffered from

severe depression triggered by the collapse of her marriage.

Her mother Jean Hogg, of Severn Drive, Walton-le-Dale, told Preston Coroner Howard McCann that her daughter had been devastated by her divorce in 2000, but that she remained amicable with her ex-husband Michael and saw him regularly.

The hearing was told she had attempted suicide twice since the divorce.

Mrs Hogg said: "Elaine came to my house the night they split up.

"She took around 20 tablets. I heard a noise on the landing.

"She was on the landing and just said 'Mum what have I done?'"

Elaine was treated for an overdose in hospital.

Her condition improved but she attempted to harm herself again in March 2001, cutting her throat at home.

Her mother said: "Somehow she drove herself to Chorley hospital.

"There was a horrendous mess in the house."

She was sectioned for six months and came home in July 2001.

Mrs Hogg remembered taking Elaine on holiday to Scarborough where she seemed a lot better. She and Elaine's father had planned to go away by themselves on August 23. But they received a phone call from their daughter-in-law on August 24 to tell them that Elaine had jumped from a bridge on the M6.

Mrs Hogg said: "We were so upset.

"It was always there at the back of my mind that she might harm herself again.

"I was just so angry that she had done that."

Elaine was seen jumping by two men who stopped to wave traffic away from the slow lane where she had landed.

Off duty nurse Annette Ruks saw them and stopped to help as she returned from work at the Sue Ryder Care Home. She told the court: "I was in the slow lane approaching the M61 junction and saw something in the road.

"I saw two men flagging traffic away so I pulled in and stopped the car.

"One man was in shock. But my concern was Elaine.

"She seemed all right at the time, still conscious.

"I checked to make sure there was no blood and just covered her with my coat.

"She was able to give me her name then was silent. Later she told me she had two small children at home.

"I think she had confidence in me so I just kept her talking.

"She told me 'I want to die'.

"I told her she was a silly girl and said there was help available."

Mrs Warburton died despite emergency surgery at hospital.

Dr Jane Edwards, consultant pathologist at Royal Preston Hospital said Mrs Warburton had died from multiple injuries.

Mr McCann recorded a verdict of suicide.

e-mail: stef.beaumont@lep.co.uk