A TALENTED tennis player searched for suicide sites on his iPad before standing in front of a train at Warrington Bank Quay, an inquest heard.

The family of Peter Cook, aged 69, spoke of their disbelief during the hearing that such a ‘private, dignified man’ could choose to die in such a ‘public way’.

The inquest heard Mr Cook, from Appleton, played tennis to a ‘competitive level’ before suffering a type of stroke three months previously to his death on January 24 this year and was ‘terrified’ of having another.

Doctors said the prognosis was very good for the fit and active pensioner but on the morning he died he told his partner Patricia Jones he thought he ‘would never be the same again’ and could ‘never get back’ to the same standard of tennis.

Miss Jones, who lived with Mr Cook for more than 14 years, said: “Anxiety and depression would come in little waves and wasn’t there at all before the stroke.

“(On the morning of the incident) I thought he was going to the village but before he left the house he put his hand on my shoulder and said he appreciated everything I did.

“Then he closed the door and I didn’t seem him again.

“I still don’t understand how someone extremely fit and healthy in 14 weeks can then do what he did.”

The retired accountant had visited the train station the day before his death to buy train tickets with Miss Jones for a trip to London that weekend.

Miss Jones’ daughter Alison Sutton said it was the families’ disbelief that led her to check Mr Cook’s browsing history where she found he had visited the Samaritans website and suicide sites with success rates on Boxing Day.

The train driver and other witnesses confirmed Mr Cook’s actions standing in front of the train appeared deliberate and there was no sign he had tripped.

Coroner Alan Moore recorded the conclusion Mr Cook had taken his own life and had died of multiple injuries.

He added: “This case is something of a puzzle as Mr Cook had no past history of mental illness and there was no indication to his friends or family he was planning to take his own life.

“Clearly the stroke was a signifcant event and changed his outlook on life.

“It’s utterly tragic medical evidence shows things were looking good but Mr Cook didn’t share that optimisim.”