A STUDENT who fell from the Runcorn Widnes Bridge had started acting ‘out of character’ a week before he died, an inquest has heard.

Gareth Llewellyn, 33, who was due to start his PhD at Liverpool John Moores University, was discovered at the foot of the bridge in West Bank on Friday, September 2.

An inquest at Warrington Coroner’s Court last Wednesday which recorded an open verdict, heard how the ‘highly intelligent young man’ was found by the rocks beneath the bridge after witnesses contacted police at 9.45am.

His mum Lorna said that her son, from St Helens, had acted ‘out of character’ the week prior to his death.

She said: “He had randomly jumped off a train he was on with his dad at Birkenhead Park train station the day before his death and ran away only returning home late.”

The next day she called the doctors to make an appointment for him but found that Gareth was not home.

She phoned him at around 8.30am and he told her he was in Ellesmere Port. He then spoke to his sister Sarah Connor at 8.50am. He said he was not ‘in a very good mental state’.

A witness stated that she had seen Mr Llewellyn falling over the barrier near the start of the bridge an hour later.

Another witness called the police, tried to help Mr Llewellyn and waited with him until help arrived.

He died from multiple injuries.

Assistant coroner of Cheshire Alan Moore said: “Gareth showed some unusual behaviour but I cannot give a result of suicide as I am not sure he meant to take his own life without probable doubt.

“Therefore I must return an open conclusion.”