Ex-publican Roy took own life, inquest finds

Roy Chuter, pictured during his time as landlord of the Duke of Wellington pub
Roy Chuter, pictured during his time as landlord of the Duke of Wellington pub

A ‘PRIVATE’ former pub landlord wrote letters to loved ones on the platform of an unmanned train station before taking his own life, an inquest heard.

Roy Chuter, 51, of Grafton Road, Worthing, died on the morning of July 31 2013, after being hit by a train at East Worthing station.

An inquest into the death of the former proprietor of the Duke of Wellington pub, in Brighton Road, Shoreham, took place at Centenary House, Durrington last Wednesday.

The coroner heard how he left the pub in 2007 to pursue freelance writing but gradually work started to dry up.

A statement from Mr Chuter’s sister, Lynn Reeves, read: “He was a very private person about his own thoughts and feelings. That is how he was.

“He must have known he was running out of money. He didn’t like authority and didn’t like the idea of signing on. He didn’t like to be a number.”

Mrs Reeves said her brother was enjoying ‘some of the best times of his life’ while running the pub but a disagreement with the brewery led him to pursue a new direction in life.

The avid Brighton and Hove Albion fan penned articles for newspapers and the club’s programme but his health then began to deteriorate.

Mrs Reeves said: “He moved to Grafton Road and he was struggling work wise. His eyesight began to deteriorate. In 2011, he told me, ‘you know I’m blind’.”

In the months before his death, Mr Chuter stopped opening mail, paying bills and received an eviction notice from his landlord.

Mrs Reeves said: “He didn’t claim benefits and he was running out of money.

“His landlord threatened to evict him but he didn’t say anything to me or his friends.

“I asked him about claiming benefits and he would very clearly change the subject, say he was fine and move on.”

On the night before he died, Mr Chuter made his way to East Worthing station and spent the night in the waiting shelter, penning letters to loved ones.

As one of the first trains approached, he climbed down onto the tracks and was struck.

Coroner Dr David Skipp said: “It is very tragic that a man who had so much potential and so much ability should be reduced to having to take a course of action in his life which led to these consequences.

“I think it is sad he had to spend that night in that station on his own but perhaps that was his choice as he was a very private individual.” Dr Skipp’s verdict was that Mr Chuter took his own life.

Mrs Reeves paid tribute to Mr Chuter as a ‘bright and friendly’ individual.

She said: “He was really bright and personable and he was just friendly to everybody.

“He was upbeat about things and wasn’t a depressed person at all.”