Coroner concludes photographer’s death to be suicide

A popular photographer took his own life after struggling with depression and previously attempting suicide, an inquest has heard.

Norfolk Coroner’s Court was told on Friday that 50-year-old Jonathan (Jon) Seymour, from Lynn, was hit by a train heading into the town on Tuesday, September 6 2022.

Mr Seymour was well known in the area for taking photos of local music events such as Festival Too in Lynn.

Jon Seymour (63314718)
Jon Seymour (63314718)

Findings were read out by area coroner Simon Milburn, with statements given from Norfolk Police, Mr Seymour’s wife and various mental health services that saw Mr Seymour prior to his death.

First, a statement from Mr Seymour’s GP, Dr Sunday Akin Bamikole, was read out at the court at County Hall in Norwich and provided information that Mr Seymour had 15 contacts with his GP and five visits to A&E in the 12 months prior to his death.

The doctor also disclosed that Mr Seymour had a history of depression and alcohol dependency syndrome and had previously taken around eight overdoses, although the coroner said not all of them were with the intention of suicide.

Mr Seymour had been referred to various mental health services, including the mental health charity Mind, Change Grow Live (CGL) and later the crisis team.

Mr Seymour’s wife Sharon Seymour described her husband as “outgoing”.

Her statement read: “John was very outgoing and would often be photographing music events and wildlife.”

She described her husband as “quiet” and said he was well known in the local music scene.

She later said that Mr Seymour was discharged a couple of days after each A&E visit and that one mental health professional he saw suggested watching “mindfulness videos”. She said he did not always receive the help he needed due to staff absence or holiday.

Police, who were called to the scene where Mr Seymour’s body was found, said that they had found a notebook in his possession with suicidal thoughts written in it.

A note was also found addressed to his wife, which said: “I want to thank you for everything, I love you and I’m sorry.”

Hannah Baxter-Warnes, a mental health practitioner who was seeing Mr Seymour, said that prior to his death, Mr Seymour didn’t tell her about having any suicidal thoughts and that he was planning on photographing upcoming events. But he did speak about stresses at work.

Nicola Young, clinical team lead at the Crisis Resolution & Home Treatment Team, tried to contact Mr Seymour days before his death. When she did manage to contact him, he said he was “living off the grid” and “wanted to be left alone”.

A post mortem report provided by consultant histopathologist Dr ElDaly concluded that Mr Seymour’s cause of death was of a traumatic head injury caused by a collision with a train.

In his conclusion, Mr Milburn said: “His actions in my view show clear intention to take his own life.

“Jonathan sadly carried out a planned act of taking his own life.”

Mr Milburn concluded Mr Seymour’s death to be of suicide.

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