British Airways captain piloted long haul flights days before killing himself

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A British Airways captain was flying commercial planes just days before he took his own life David Rushton, 47, hanged himself on January 11 in Tiverton, Devon, after his marriage broke up and his wife found a new lover, an inquest heard The pilot, called a “fantastic captain” by his colleagues, was still doing long haul flights as his marriage deteriorated – and in the week before his death He and his ex-wife Louise had a row on his birthday on September 22 last year, and their relationship worsened over the following months Senior Greater Devon coroner Philip Spinney told Exeter’s County Hall it was a “tragic event” and what happened over the Christmas period was “too much for him” Louise told Exeter’s County Hall that David got his private pilot’s licence at 16 and joined British Airways three years later He was eventually promoted to a long haul commercial pilot. David and his wife married in 2007, but the relationship became strained owing to his hectic work schedule, the inquest heard He eventually moved out in October 2018 and rented a house close to their family home On the morning of the tragedy, he texted her to ask if he could pop over and wish his daughter good luck in an exam She said David had become “fixated” with her seeing an ex-boyfriend. Family friend Philip McFadden discovered David after the pilot had failed to pick up his children from school to go swimming Philip’s wife Victoria was the last person to speak to him in a 22-minute call that morning She said: “I tried to talk him through things. He was very upset by the break up ” Victoria said he had recently passed a pilot simulator test and had a medical, but did not want his bosses to know He was also completing BA flights in the week before his death, the inquest heard David was making plans for a cycling holiday in May 2019 and she did not believe he intended to take his life David’s GP had prescribed some anti-depressants the day before he died. His doctor, James Squire, told the inquest that David was suffering a depressive episode following the spilt and he was not sleeping well He said: “He denied any intention to self harm and there was nothing in his demeanour that he would take his own life ” Det Con John Greathead said a handwritten note was found in his jacket and a star shaped Christmas decoration with a family photo on it The coroner said the note apologised to family and friends “for his actions”, adding that there was “nothing anyone could have done to help me” When he died, colleagues paid tribute to him calling him “a lovely guy and great captain” Another said: “I built such a rapport with you on board the few times we flew together at British Airways Thank you for being a fantastic captain!”

 

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