Music journalist took his own life after spending Christmas in Bedford

Inquest told of fatal house blaze
Inquest told of fatal house blaze

A respected music journalist killed himself by leaping on to the tracks in front of a high-speed train, an inquest heard today.

David Cavanagh, 54, died from multiple injuries after being hit by the East Midlands service at Leagrave station on December 27 last year.

In a suicide note the writer, who had spent Christmas with his mother in Bedford, said he had intended to commit suicide on December 23 but had not wanted to inconvenience people travelling home for the holidays.

At an inquest in Ampthill, Bedfordshire Senior Coroner Emma Whitting recorded a verdict that Dublin-born David Cavanagh, who grew up near Belfast from the age of five or six, had taken his own life.

At the time of his death David Cavanagh, who was single and had no children, lived in New Church Road, Hove near Brighton.

He had written a critically-acclaimed history of the independent record label Creation Records called My Magpie Eyes are Hungry for the Prize. He also wrote Good Night and Good Riddance: How Thirty-Five Years of John Peel Helped to Shape Modern Life, about the Radio One DJ John Peel.

In a statement, provided to the British Transport police, his brother Alan said the books had been critically-acclaimed but were not a source of great income. He said his brother, who could be amusing and engaging, had been struggling financially.

David Cavanagh had been an editor of Select magazine and wrote for Sounds, Q, Uncut and Mojo. He had studied Russian at Birmingham University and moved to the school of Slavonic studies.

Coroner’s officer Peter Smith said he had been struck by the Derby to London train at 12.16pm on December 27.

He had travelled on a Bedford to Brighton train on the morning of December 27, getting off at Leagrave. He then walked over to platform 3 where the fast train passed.

The driver, who was travelling at around 100 mph, saw David Cavanagh put his hand down and leap off the platform on to the track. He blew his horn continually, applied the emergency brake and shut his eyes.

After the impact, train services in the area were halted. A note found by the police stated he had decided to end his life on December 23, but waited until after Christmas to minimise the disruption to others. A Christmas card with £50 inside was also recovered.

He wrote: “Having taken the decision to end my life. I decided to postpone for a few days not wishing to inconvenience people going home for Christmas.” He wrote of the despair he was feeling, saying: “I am hoping some Karma may come my way.”

The coroner read out extracts from an article by John Harris in the Guardian on December 31 in which David Cavanagh was referred to as “the best music writer of his times.”

She said: “Clearly he was very well-liked and respected by those he worked with.”