A father who died after he crashed into the back of a stationary lorry did so to kill himself, an inquest has heard.
Raymond Darby died at the scene of the crash on the A5 westbound at Wall, near Muckley Corner.
The 43-year-old HGV driver was seen driving his green Ford Fiesta onto the layby on the westbound carriageway on April 7 this year before crashing head-on into a Marks & Spencer lorry.
Witnesses described how they had not seen Mr Darby brake or swerve before he hit the truck.
Susan Helen Smith, of Sutton Coldfield, was driving behind Mr Darby before he drove onto the layby. A statement read on her behalf to Cannock Coroner’s Court said: “I was completely shocked. I expected the car to slow or stop, but instead it continued to travel along the layby without stopping – I didn’t see any brake lights.”
“After three or four seconds the car collided with the rear end of the lorry. There was a loud bang, a plume of smoke and a shower of glass.”
Collision investigator Pc Andrew Salt told the court Mr Darby’s hands were still on the steering wheel after he had died and his foot remained on the acceleration pedal. Mr Darby was also not wearing a seatbelt.
“Over the years I’ve attended many similar collision scenes and it does bear the hallmarks of a deliberate act,” said Pc Salt. Results of the post mortem found Mr Darby’s wrists had been broken by the smash. He died of multiple injuries.
The court was told Mr Darby, from New Street, Chase Terrace, had tried to take an overdose just under a month before his death following an argument over the phone with his wife, but called paramedics after he began to vomit. He was given a mental health assessment and discharged two days later.
The mental health team notified Mr Darby’s GP surgery and gave Mr Darby a list of numbers to call should he need further assistance.
Mr Darby’s GP, Dr Bradwell at Fulfen Surgery, Burntwood, has criticised the care the team gave him, calling it ‘the bare minimum that could have been done’.
South Staffordshire coroner Andrew Haigh said: “The GP described the aftercare as ‘the bare minimum’, which is right I’d say.”
But Paul Bowers from South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare Trust, told the inquest: “The trust believes the action taken by the liaison worker was correct in this instance.”
Mr Haigh concluded Mr Darby had killed himself.