Published: 14:00, 09 April 2014
A tragic mother with drink problems stood arms outstretched in the path of an oncoming train just a day after being told she couldn't see her two children.
Joelli Budd had just been sent a letter from a legal firm saying her application to see her daughter and son, who live with her ex-husband, had been turned down.
The 35-year-old former bar worker, who also went by her maiden name of Fulton, was declared dead at the scene at Simpson Crossing, near the Bobbing Apple pub and hotel complex, at about 2.20pm on Sunday, December 22.
The cause of death was multiple injuries.
Coroner Patricia Harding read out a statement from driver Robert Freeman when the inquest into her death was held at the Archbishop’s Palace in Maidstone.
Mr Freeman said the Ramsgate-bound train was travelling at about 70mph and he had sounded the horn as he approached the crossing, when a woman appeared from the left hand side.
He said: “My hand immediately went to the brake. She had enough time to clear out the way. I even said ‘Go on. Keep going’.
“She then turned towards me, kept her head bowed, raised her hands out to her sides in a crucifix position.
“It was about two to three seconds between seeing her and hitting her. There was nothing I could do but wait for the train to stop.”
Investigation officer PC Simon Sweeting, of the British Transport Police, said the line was approximately 2km away from Ms Budd’s home which she shared with her partner Walter Newell in Gadby Road, Sittingbourne.
Two notes addressed to her mother, which suggested she intended to take her own life, were found nearby in a plastic shopping bag along with the solicitor’s letter.
Her father Robert Fulton said his daughter had been suffering from depression for a number of years and that she had turned to drink to “self medicate and help her along the way”.
Mr Newell, 70, a former landlord of the Ypres Tavern in West Street, Sittingbourne, said in the days leading up to her death Joelli was happy and looking forward to Christmas.
But on the Saturday, she’d become upset, possibly due to receiving the letter, and left home.
She returned later under the influence of alcohol with a male friend whom she told Mr Newell she had invited around for a Christmas drink.
Mr Newell wouldn’t let her into the property because they had an agreement she wouldn’t drink at home.
“She then turned towards me, kept her head bowed, raised her hands out to her sides in a crucifix position" - train driver Robert Freeman
She left and the next time he saw her was the following day when he returned home from walking the dog at about 11am.
He found her crying and putting items in a bag but she didn’t say why she was upset.
He said: “I told her ‘Go and don’t come back’. I never saw her again.”
Mrs Harding said it appeared Joelli was inconsolable after receiving the letter and that she was satisfied her intentions were to kill herself.
“It was a tragedy for all concerned and Joelli was in a desperate place at the time,” she said.