Ex-signalman’s death on railway

A FORMER signalman, described as a ‘loner’, killed himself on train tracks after being asked to leave his flat, an inquest has heard this week.

Derby Coroners Court was told that Michael Hunt, 58, died from multiple injuries after lying with his neck on the tracks on the foot crossing at Meadow Way, Long Eaton, on July 25 last year.

The driver of the Birmingham to Nottingham train, Andrew Sansome said he was ‘shocked’ by the incident.

Not long after leaving Long Eaton station at about 10pm, he noticed an object on the tracks ahead of him.

“I realised it was a person on the rail face down, lying on the crossing boards with his body off the rails,” he explained in a written statement read out to the court on Thursday.

He made an emergency brake but the train, travelling at about 50mph, travelled 400 yards, over Mr Hunt, before coming to a stop.

Police and forensic officers sealed off the area until 1.30am.

Officers from British Transport Police were commended by assistant deputy coroner Paul McCandless for the ‘considerable detective work’ they had to undergo to find out who Mr Hunt was after his death, as he had lived a very private life without bank cards, a passport or a mobile phone.

In his pockets were a bus ticket and a dental appointment card, which police used to find his address.

They searched his flat and found a letter asking Mr Hunt to vacate the property by the following week.

The court heard that Mr Hunt, who lived alone in West Bridgford, had no friends and had not seen family, including his brother Raymond, of Ilkeston, for 25 years since their mother was ill in hospital.

Raymond explained that on that occasion, Michael had run away from the hospital before seeing his mother.

He said: “Having to leave his accommodation and find fresh accommodation would have really upset him – he was very fixed in his ways.

“He thought he would be there for life.”

He explained that his younger brother had been bullied as a child and spent his time playing with model train sets alone in the garden shed at the family home in Long Eaton.

He had always dreamed of being a signalman and worked as one at Chilwell depot where Raymond said he would have gained knowledge of the local signals.

Recording a verdict of suicide, Mr McCandless said: “In view of the nature of his death, clearly he had chosen to put himself in the way of a moving train.

“The reason, I can only speculate, but a notice to vacate his property undoubtedly unsettled him considerably.”