Page last updated at 07:59 GMT, Friday, 24 October 2008 08:59 UK

Suicide man had threatened staff

The Probation Service in Devon has defended its handling of the case of a man who committed suicide while under its supervision.

Nigel Riddle, 52, from Exeter, was killed when he walked into the path of a train near Powderham in February.

He was serving a suspended sentence for affray, but feared he may be sent to prison after threatening probation staff, an inquest heard.

The Probation Service said everything was done correctly in the case.

I genuinely believe that everything we could have done, we did
Colin Janus-Harris, Probation Service

An inquest in Torquay was told that in the months before Mr Riddle's death, he had made threats to probation staff, so the team decided his case would be referred back to a judge.

The inquest heard that Mr Riddle had mental health and alcohol problems.

His brother, Ian Riddle, told the inquest in Torquay that he had received a text from Mr Riddle a few hours before he died, in which he said he'd "had it" and "the threat of prison was too great".

Colin Janus-Harris from the Probation Service said prison would have been one of several options for a judge, not the only one.

He added it was a "difficult balance" trying to protect staff and look after the needs of individuals at the same time.

He said: "I genuinely believe that everything we could have done, we did."


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