Business leader 'dived into path of lorry'

Dave Mark A WELL-known East Yorkshire businessman threw himself into the path of an articulated lorry – on the day he promised his family he was "turning over a new leaf" and trying to fight off his depression.

Robert Griffin, of Dale Road in Elloughton, was a familiar face in the local business community and ran an accountancy firm in Beverley. He was responsible for introducing the town's Christmas lights and founding the Junior Chamber of Commerce.

But, at an inquest held in Hull yesterday, Coroner Geoffrey Saul was told that Mr Griffin, who was 47 at the time of his death, had a history of depression stretching back more than two decades.

Mr Saul heard that for almost 90 minutes before the accident in August last year, motorists spotted a man in running clothes who fitted Mr Griffin's description walking up and down the roadside verge and running up and down the embankment by the A63 dual carriageway near Elloughton.

Witnesses said he looked "lost and confused", and he was even seen to run into the carriageway and then back to the roadside.

The incident happened at a time when the father-of-four was suffering from a bout of depression. He had been on medication for many years for a condition that sometimes left him physically bedridden and unable to function.

On the day of the incident, his wife Carol had taken two of their daughters to the airport. She returned to find a note, saying he had gone for a run and was going to try and "turn over a new leaf".

Motorist Trevor Dixon, an East Yorkshire vet, told the inquest: "I was about two cars behind the lorry. I saw a man in running gear at the side of the road. He just seemed to lurch forward into the path of the lorry. I saw him thrown into the air."

James Riddell, who was at the wheel of the HGV, told police: "I saw something in the bushes by the road and I realised it was a human. He then started running towards the road. I swerved as much as I could but he just dived into my path."

A police investigation could find no concrete evidence that Mr Griffin intended to take his own life, and said he may have stumbled on the shingle by the roadside.

Mr Saul recorded an open verdict.

After the inquest, Mrs Griffin told the Yorkshire Post: "I don't think we'll ever really know what happened or what was in his mind.

"He had taken his key with him for a run, and left a note which seemed to say he was getting better. He was such a public-spirited man that even if he did want to end it, he wouldn't do it like that."