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Inquest begins after Natalie Gray from Bournemouth Road in Folkestone died at Barming train station after leaving Priority House mental health unit

By Claire McWethy

A woman reported missing from a psychiatric clinic spent nearly two hours at a nearby railway station before she was hit and killed by a train, an inquest has heard.

Natalie Gray had been a voluntary patient at Priority House, in Hermitage Lane, where she was receiving care from a mental health team.

But on April 21, 2015 the 24-year-old discharged herself at 4.30pm, saying she wanted to take her own life, and made her way to Barming railway station around a mile away. She was reported missing to the police but was next seen at 6.10pm by the train driver.

The scene outside Barming Railway Station after the tragic death of Natalie Gray

The scene outside Barming Railway Station after the tragic death of Natalie Gray

An inquest into her death, which started at Archbishop’s Palace today, heard she appeared to have jumped into its path.

On the first day of evidence, a jury was shown CCTV footage from the station, which showed her pacing up and down both platforms.

Phone records showed Miss Gray - of Bournemouth Road in Folkestone - had been contacted by a number of friends and family members, a nurse from Priority House, a social worker and Kent Police after she went missing.

Natalie Gray died at Barming train station

Natalie Gray died at Barming train station

She replied to one text saying: “I’m out of that place, not going back” and in another described how she was feeling lonely and isolated.

She also called her social worker.

Detective Constable Paula Bennett from British Transport Police (BTP) explained that the station would have been unmanned outside the morning peak period, but read the statement of a 14-year-old witness who had seen a person “looking sad” on the platform before the tragedy.

The inquest heard that Miss Gray had been diagnosed with emotionally unstable personality disorder and had previously expressed suicidal intentions.

Archbishop's Palace, Maidstone

Archbishop's Palace, Maidstone

She died at the scene from multiple injuries.

As well as evidence from mental health and Kent Police staff, the inquest is set to hear findings from an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) into the police’s handling of an emergency call in the run up to Miss Gray’s death.

It is expected to last three weeks and is attended by representatives for Natalie’s family, Kent Police, the IPCC and Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT).

If you would like confidential support on an emotional issue, call Samaritans on 116 123 at any time.

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