A FATHER of three, who died in a crash on the A69, took his own life, an inquest has ruled.

Stuart Gilpin (35) was driving on the A69 when his van was involved in a collision with a HGV near East Wharmley Farm, east of Haydon Bridge, on Sunday, December 23, at around 1.45am. Police pronounced him dead at the scene.

At an inquest, held in North Shields on Thursday, the court heard that his wife, Lorna, had raised concerns about her husband’s safety at around 1.20am with the police after he left the family home in Whitley Bay on his own.

The inquest was told that Mr Gilpin said to his wife ‘”I’ll see you in another life’” after a minor argument before leaving.

She later received a text message from him, which said: “Goodbye. Look after my angels.”

Ian Hall, of the Northumbria Police forensic collision investigation unit, attended the scene and gave evidence at the inquest. He described the incident as a catastrophic collision, with the damage caused to the van “severe and extensive.”

A statement from the HGV driver, read out in court, described the moment he saw a white van travelling towards him in the opposite direction before it moved directly in front of him.

“I was hoping it was going to move back over but it didn’t. I didn’t have any time to move out the way.”

There was no evidence to suggest any other vehicles or persons were involved.

A post mortem examination concluded that Mr Gilpin died of multiple injuries consistent with a road traffic collision.

A toxicology report found he had 194 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 80.

The court heard Mr Gilpin had recently failed an assessment as part of a job application at the Royal Air Force, but he told family members he was determined to move on.

South Northumberland coroner, Eric Armstrong, recorded a narrative conclusion outlining that Mr Gilpin took his own life having consumed Viagra and excess alcohol by driving his van in the path of another vehicle.

He said: “Stuart Gilpin was not thinking clearly due to a combination of alcohol and drugs.

“I am not satisfied that he understood what he was doing.”

Speaking in January, his father, Alan Gilpin, described his son as a fun-loving young man who surrounded himself with friends and family.

He remembered his son as someone who was incredibly loyal and kind to those who were close to him – a man with a ‘good engine’, and a young father who cared greatly for his family.