Father died after walking into path of lorry on A27

Chief Inspector Sharon Woolrich

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A BROTHER has paid tribute to a ‘real family man’ who took his own life by walking into the path of a lorry on a busy road.

Dad-of-two Alan Potter, 45, from Portsmouth, was depressed at the time of his death, an inquest heard.

He died at the scene of the crash on the A27 eastbound carriageway near Chichester on January 22.

Dean Potter paid tribute to his brother’s ‘get up and go attitude to life’.

He said: ‘He was proud and independent.

‘My brother would drop everything to help a friend or family member.

‘He adored his boys. He was a fantastic provider.

‘He found going through his divorce hard.

‘He didn’t want tea and sympathy, he just wanted someone to listen to him.

‘He was starting to enjoy life more.’

The inquest at Edes House in Chichester heard how Mr Potter had ‘seemed sad’ the night before his death.

Amy Jennings, Mr Potter’s lodger, said: ‘He said he felt suicidal in the past.

‘He said it was his children who had kept him going. He was very close to his family.’

Mr Potter, who was a cable layer for Southern Electric, was reviewed by a mental health team days before his death.

Andrew Day, who was driving the lorry that struck Mr Potter, told the inquest: ‘He ran from a standing start into the middle of the carriageway.

‘I was looking for something that would warrant him running out – something important enough to retrieve.

‘I didn’t see the lay-by where his car was parked until I was on top of it. It was dark.

‘I eased off the throttle – but I was fully loaded with plaster board so couldn’t stamp on the brakes. I would’ve jackknifed. I was in shock.’

The inquest heard Mr Potter had stepped out in front of traffic earlier on the day of his death.

Van driver Andrew Norris was driving down the eastbound carriageway towards Chichester when he saw a dark figure step out in front of him.

He said: ‘I had nowhere else to go, but I managed to make that extra move to go around him. He braced himself.

‘He was surprised, he thought there was going to be a collision.

‘I didn’t know what he was doing.’

Deputy assistant coroner Elisabeth Bussey-Jones recorded a verdict of suicide.