A WOMAN who jumped to her death from a motorway bridge had never recovered from the suicide of her son 20 years earlier, an inquest heard.

Gillian James, from Bath Road, died on July 18 last year – two weeks after throwing herself from the M4 bridge at Wroughton.

At an inquest in Trowbridge yesterday coroner David Ridley ruled Mrs James, 68, had taken her own life.

Mr Ridley said she had twice taken overdoses of medication since her son Matthew committed suicide in 1988.

The loss of her husband in 2005 and the recent death of her dog had left Mrs James feeling depressed and she had talked to family of jumping from the bridge, Mr Ridley said.

He said that on July 4 last year Mrs James took the one-mile walk from her house to the Wroughton bridge and climbed over protective fencing.

PC Alan Kyne gave evidence to say the bridge was specifically designed to make it difficult for someone to find themselves on the wrong side of the railings.

Mr Ridley also read evidence from Nationwide employee Geoffrey Cantor, who saw Mrs James climbing over the railings.

In his statement Mr Cantor said he urged Mrs James to return to safety but she ignored him.

Another passerby, Helen Draine, described in a statement that she saw Mrs James standing with her back to the motorway and let go of the fencing, falling on to the hard shoulder of the eastbound carriageway.

She was rushed to the Great Western Hospital, but died on July 18 of acute peritonitis caused by the trauma of the fall.

A statement from Mrs James’ youngest son was also summarised by the coroner, in which he described how his mother would always feel low at Christmas time as it reminded her of Matthew’s death.

He also revealed that his mother had already contemplated jumping from the same bridge.

A statement from Phil Cooper, of Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health NHS Trust, said that Mrs James had undertaken counselling but remained worried about living on her own and depressed at the tragedies that had hit her family.

Reaching his conclusion Mr Ridley said: “I have heard helpful evidence from those treating her and her son that Gillian had certain events in her life that were very hard on her and her family – particularly the untimely death of her son Matthew in 1988, which led to her attempting to take her own life.

“A further traumatic event occurred when she lost her husband in 2005. That led to another attempt on her life.”