A Wallasey-born company director attempted to run into the path of a car minutes before he was killed by a train at Alderley Edge railway station.

Gerard Mulholland, 70, of Congleton Close, Alderley Edge, died on March 1, after leaping in front of the Manchester to Cardiff train, passing through the station.

The inquest, at Macclesfield Town Hall, heard that Mr Mulholland, who was born in Wallasey had a happy childhood.

As a young man, he had studied a chemistry degree part time at the University of Salford.

He worked for Warrington firm Crossfield International.

In a written statement to the inquest a motorist said on the day of the accident he had seen a white male at the edge of the pavement near to the crest of the road/rail bridge at the station in Alderley Edge.

He said: "I had an intuitive feeling he was going to walk out in front of me. He did, and then he ran in front of the car, I had to put on the emergency brakes, and fortunately I was able to stop just about one foot short of him."

He added: "The last I saw of him was as he walked off down the road to the station."

Timothy Revill, the driver of the Arriva Wales train said he was travelling through Alderley Edge station at 9.50am, at a speed of 65mph, when he saw a man run along to the edge of the platform in front of my train. It was impossible to prevent the train from hitting him.

CCTV images recovered by British Transport Police confirmed Mr Revill's account of the incident.

Mr Mulholland's wife Josephine told the inquest that her husband loved his job and in his leisure time he had been a keen sportsman and a member at Bramhall Golf Club.

Mr Mulholland, who had retired in 2002, was treated for anxiety by both his GP and shortly before his death at Altrincham's Priory, where Dr Patricia O'Malley said: "He had gone from a very high pressure job to doing nothing."

Recording a verdict, Dr Jane Elizabeth Napier, the assistant Cheshire coroner, said: "He was a highly intelligent gentleman who did very well in his career. Retiring at 55, he was able to enjoy his life but had some recurrence of mental health problems which became more acute before he died.

"He died of multiple injuries while the balance of his mind was disturbed."