Death fall skydiver had been suicidal

A "FEARLESS" skydiver who plunged nearly 10,000ft to his death had a history of depression and had attempted suicide in the past, an inquest heard.

Christopher Peak, 23, from Hull died after his parachute failed to open during his 31st jump near Bridlington on March 7.

Several witnesses saw Mr Peak, a student parachutist, freefalling from an aeroplane before landing in a field close to the Skydive Bridlington centre, at Grindale, near Bridlington.

Investigations by the British Parachute Association (BPA) revealed Mr Peak had made no attempts to open either his main or his reserve parachute and an emergency system which would have automatically opened the parachute at 750ft had not been switched on.

A post mortem examination found Mr Peak, who died instantly from multiple injuries, had 105mgs per 100mls of alcohol in his blood, which the court heard, might have impaired his judgement.

He had suffered intermittently from depression since the age of 12 and had been prescribed antidepressants.

He attempted suicide in 2005 by overdosing on paracetamol and in October 2006 he wrote a suicide note and hoarded medication with which to overdose but did not carry out the plan to take his own life.

He was referred to see psychiatrist Dr Jan Musil who described Mr Peak as suffering from mild to moderate depression.

"(Christopher) had complained of depression since the age of 12," Dr Musil's statement said. "His outlook was not very optimistic, he often thought of self-harm."

It continued: "He had no intention of harming himself but didn't care if he was alive or dead."

Recording an open verdict, coroner Geoffrey Saul said the absence of a suicide note or a motive, meant he could not record a verdict of suicide.

He suggested Mr Peak may have mistakenly believed his automatic safety device was switched on and may have lost altitude awareness during his jump, leading him to believe he had more time to open his parachute.

All the equipment was in good working order.

He concluded: "I am not satisfied so that I feel sure that he fully intended to take his own life."

Mr Peak had completed 30 jumps since his first skydive in 2006 and went on a skydiving course in Madrid at the beginning of 2007.

Catherine Peak, Mr Peak's mother, said: "He would say there was no feeling in the world like jumping out of a plane."

She added: "He was a wonderful and caring, fun-loving son who wanted to live life to the full. He was fearless when it came to his skydiving. What he did, he did well, he was always looking for the next challenge. Nothing ever daunted him."

On the day of the fatal jump, witnesses described Mr Peak as behaving in a relaxed, normal manner at Skydive Bridlington.

Paula Mason, sister of Andrea Corlass, who was doing a tandem skydive for Comic Relief, said Mr Peak was encouraging Andrea.

"He said, 'she'll love it. The buzz is brilliant. When she's done it, she'll want to do it again'."

He was seen checking his equipment thoroughly and when asked said he had switched on his Automatic Activation Device which deploys a parachute in the event of a failure.

But witnesses reported watching him fall making no attempt to open his parachute.