Accidental verdict over rail death tragedy
PUBLISHED: 19:49 02 July 2008 | UPDATED: 15:48 11 May 2010
A VERDICT of accidental death has been recorded at an inquest on a teenager who was killed when he was hit by a train. Former Meridian School student Tom Fulton, 19, was crossing the railway track at Green Drift, Royston, when he was struck by the 9.36pm
A VERDICT of accidental death has been recorded at an inquest on a teenager who was killed when he was hit by a train.
Former Meridian School student Tom Fulton, 19, was crossing the railway track at Green Drift, Royston, when he was struck by the 9.36pm train from King's Lynn to King's Cross on November 13, 2007.
The train driver, David Grieg, braked shortly after 10.45pm when he realised that he had hit something. The train came to a halt 200 yards later.
After getting out of his cab, Mr Grieg found Tom and rushed to a nearby house to get help.
A paramedic was called, but Tom, of Garden Lane, Royston, was pronounced dead at the scene.
In a statement Mr Grieg said: "I heard a loud thud from the near side of the unit and saw what looked like a white sheet appearing."
A post-mortem examination revealed that Tom died instantly after suffering a severe head injury.
And investigating officer Det Insp Ciaran Dermody, of British Transport Police, told the hearing on Tuesday: "He would have been unconscious immediately."
Pathology tests showed that Tom had a blood alcohol level of 251mg, more than three times the drink-drive limit. Traces of cannabis were also found in his blood.
The inquest heard that Tom had had a row with his girlfriend.
Nicholas Bucknall, an inspector from the Rail Accident Investigation Branch, was asked by the Hertfordshire coroner Edward Thomas if the Green Drift crossing was safe to use.
Mr Bucknall said: "The crossing does not present any risks for one person crossing.
He added: "The visibility in both directions is in excess of 400 metres."
In recording a verdict of accidental death, Mr Thomas said: "The problem when you have too much to drink is that your perception of how far away things are is impaired.
"He had his Walkman on and his earphones in, and that in itself can be a distraction.
"It was an accident, and I am clear in my mind that is what the position is."
Tom was a pupil at Greneway School before moving to Meridian.
He had completed A-levels in business and geography and was employed as an agency worker at the time of his death.
After the hearing, Tom's parents released a statement which said: "Tom's sad and early death has broken our hearts, leaving a massive emptiness in our lives, never to be refilled.
"Though Tom could be quiet at times, he was always kind-natured and loving, with a wicked sense of humour and a beaming smile that melted not only our hearts, but the hearts of many who knew and loved him.
"We would like to thank all family and friends who have helped and supported us through this sad and tragic time.