A “loving” Football League groundsman took his own life at just 21 after walking in front of an oncoming lorry, a inquest was told.
William Whitney died from “traumatic head, neck and chest injuries” after finishing a days work at Peterborough United.
A post mortem confirmed that the young grounds keeper suffered “extensive and severe” injuries following the tragic incident on February 12.
League One side Peterborough lead the tributes to their “well-liked” pitch prepare following his death, CambridgeLive reports.
He had messaged a colleague on the day of his death saying that he “felt so lost” and “needed a bit of support”.
In a statement written by his father, William was described as being “positive, caring and loving person” who was “passionate about life”.
Player Bobby Copping, who new Mr Whitney well, told his inquest at Huntingdon Town Hall in Cambridge that the pair had met at 3pm on the day he died.
At 5pm, Mr Whitney asked if Mr Copping wanted to get some food with him, but the footballer said he needed to go to the gym and they could see each other tomorrow.
Mr Copping said that he said he could see Mr Whitney was down but just thought he “was having a rough time”.
William’s partner, Phillipa Moss, said in a statement at the inquest that they were “inseparable” and they had future holidays booked together.
She was not aware of any financial, health, or mental health issues, but said he felt “under-appreciated” at work and was looking for jobs elsewhere.
One of Mr Whitney’s colleagues said he had been having problems at work.
In January, the groundsman had started having “personal difficulties” when his grandmother died, followed by the loss of his uncle.
But his colleague said the events did not seem to have a “lasting impact on Will or his behaviour”.
He added that on one occasion after this, Mr Whitney said at work that he had had “enough” and “I might as well end it”.
Another member of staff told him not to be “stupid”, and his colleague said he took him to one side to check he was alright and said he would be there for him if he wanted to talk.
He told the inquest that on the day of his death, Mr Whitney arrived at work shortly after 7am, and seemed to be in a “bad mood”, but by lunchtime, he seemed “great”.
Mr Whitney sent his colleague a message to say “I feel so lost” and that he needed “a bit of support”.
At 8.23pm, Mr Whitney was hit by the HGV on the A16 southbound near Newborough in Peterborough.
The driver of the lorry said in a statement: “I believe this person intended for me to hit them.”
He explained that he saw Whitney standing in the centre lane with his arms above his head, directly facing the oncoming traffic.
The HGV was inspected, but it was found to not have any faults, and the driver was experienced and well-rested, with no eyesight problems or anything that could have impaired his driving.
The weather was clear and visibility was good, but it was dark and Mr Whitney was wearing dark, non-reflective clothing.
Coroner Simon Milburn said there was nothing the driver could have done to avoid the collision.
His dad, Steven Whitney, said in a statement read by the coroner: “He was a positive, friendly, caring and loving person. He was passionate about life and loved his family and his girlfriend. He cared more about everyone than himself.”
He added: “We never had any issues with William. He was never in trouble, and no one would have a bad word to say about him.
“The whole situation has come out of the blue for me. I don’t know how he could have gone from being bouncy and happy to being killed in this way.
“He never came to me and discussed being unhappy at work, and I’m not aware of any financial issues.”
He added: “It’s a typical male thing to keep it all to yourself.”