A "very artistic" man who struggled with mental health and drug problems took his own life by stepping in front of a train, an inquest has heard.

Ricky Smith, 32, of McDougall Court, Kew, died at North Sheen station on April 7 this year at about 5pm, when he was hit by a train from Barnes to Waterloo.

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He began taking drugs at the age of 16 while studying at Richmond College and was given a police caution for possession of cannabis as a teenager, west London Coroners Court heard on Monday, October 2.

Detective sergeant Gerry Griffin of British Transport Police said family members told him Mr Smith was introduced to heroin by a girlfriend and his addiction changed him completely as he began stealing to fund his habit.

However, when Mr Smith’s father, Anthony, suffered a heart attack Mr Smith’s attitude towards drugs changed completely and he became closer to his family, according to his mother Victoria.

Mrs Smith said: "He had had lots of problems but for the last year of his life he was just Ricky, and we would see him laughing and joking.

"His death was so out of the blue - for the last year of his life we would never have thought something like this would happen."

Coroner Jeremy Chipperfield said a toxicology report revealed there was no alcohol in Mr Smith’s system and nothing to indicate he was intoxicated at the time of his death.

Anthony Smith said his son was a very creative and artistic man.

He said: "He had a good eye for detail and he would pencil draw things and really capture what they were.

"He was a good conversationalist and an all-round nice guy.

"When you get involved in drugs and these sort of things it throws you off the straight and narrow, and that’s what happened to Ricky.

"Before he got involved he was such a nice kid."