Cancer patient hit by train in Macclesfield | Knutsford Times

Cancer patient hit by train in Macclesfield

By on May 16, 2019

A man who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer left the hospital where he was being treated before being hit by a train, an inquest has heard.

Robert Graham Shaw, 59, who was described at the hearing as having led a ‘kind and gentle life’ left a ward at Macclesfield and District General Hospital on November 17 last year and took a taxi to Adlington Railway station where he was later struck by a Virgin Inter City express.

The hearing at Macclesfield Town Hall, heard Mr Shaw, who lived on Hathaway Drive, Macclesfield, had been diagnosed with stage 3 oesophageal cancer the previous month and had increasingly lost the ability to swallow.

He had also suffered from periodic mental health issues.

The inquest heard that staff at the hospital, where Mr Shaw had been treated since October 30, had no immediate concerns in the lead up to his death that he intended to harm himself and he had received a visit from his sister shortly before he left the hospital premises.

After being fed intravenously for several hours per day Mr Shaw would often go for a walk to the hospital’s duck pond or shop and ward staff thought this is what had happened on the day in question.

British Transport Police investigator Leanne Callan looked into the events leading up to Mr Shaw’s death.

She said: “From viewing of various CCTV sources we know Mr Shaw entered the hospital shop at 11.59am, leaving four minutes later.

A train driver reported a possible collision at 1.16pm.

Miss Callan added that the investigation had found no suspicious circumstances or third party involvement surrounding the death.

East Cheshire NHS Trust had conducted a review of its policies in the aftermath of Mr Shaw’s death and had implemented improvements on treating patients with mental health issues who had received a terminal diagnosis.

A statement from Mr Shaw’s sister Jane McFarland described her brother as ‘much loved and kind’.

She said that doctors had told him he would have had around two months to live.

Coroner Heath Westerman recorded a conclusion of suicide.

About Lucy Thorpe

Lucy Thorpe is a freelance journalist who writes for the Knutsford Times - covering stories and news in and around Cheshire and Greater Manchester. If you've got a story to share, or would like to speak to Lucy, please email

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