A FATHER-of-four plunged to his death from a tram bridge in Whitefield, an inquest was told.

Craig Batey, who had suffered from mental ill-health, died instantly when falling around 80ft onto the slip-road of the M60 motorway on the evening of March 5 this year.

Metrolink tram driver Stephen Henson told the Bury hearing how he saw Mr Batey standing on the trackside, a short distance away from Besses Oth Barn station, and then crawl under the safety barrier and disappear.

"I stopped the tram, got out and looked over the railings," said Mr Henson. "I could see a body lying on the slip road of the motorway beneath. It was obvious he had not survived."

Motorist Steven Hampson said he was travelling down the slip road when he saw a bundle drop from the bridge overhead. He said: "I swerved to avoid it but I felt my car jolt. I must have just clipped it. I stopped on the hard shoulder and returned. I then saw the bundle was a body."

Coroner Mr Simon Nelson was told how Mr Batey had suffered from depression and paranoia for a number of years. The 35-year-old also heard voices in his head which prompted him to take an overdose of prescribed drugs. Mr Batey spent a week in the psychiatric unit at Fairfield General Hospital.

Recording an open verdict, Mr Nelson said Mr Batey, who lived with his mother, Edythe Griffiths in Parr Lane, Unsworth, said he was not satisfied the former Stand All Saints Primary and Castlebrook High School pupil intended his actions, despite his mental ill health, to result in the loss of his life.

He said: "Had Craig jumped nearer to the platform he would have landed on an embankment. Perhaps he misjudged the drop."