Monday 5 December 2016

Boy stepped in front of train after news of his 'liaison' went viral

Rod Minchin

Published 17/06/2016 | 12:37

Matthew Brittan
Matthew Brittan

A 14-year-old student died hours after knowledge of a "liaison" with a fellow pupil went viral around his school, an inquest heard.

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Matthew Brittan stepped in front of a passenger train on a crossing close to his home in Weston-super-Mare, north Somerset, having left his bicycle locked up nearby.

Avon Coroner's Court heard that a liaison the teenager had the previous day with a female student at Worle Community School had become common knowledge.

He died instantaneously from multiple injuries after stepping in front of the 4.07pm Taunton to Cardiff Great Western passenger service on the afternoon of February 1 this year.

Despite the train driver repeatedly sounding his horn and applying the emergency brakes he was unable to stop in time.

John Wilson, a civilian investigator for British Transport Police, told the court that the incident, which happened on the Finch Close crossing, was recorded by cameras mounted on the train.

He said: "The driver leaves Weston Milton station and accelerates to 40mph and as he approaches Finch Close crossing he can see a person approaching the crossing from the left hand side and he sounds his horn as a warning.

"He was relieved to see the person move back to a position of safety where almost immediately the person approached the crossing again and stood still looking directly at the front of the train.

"The driver sounded his horn continuously and applied his emergency brake but there was nothing he could do to stop the train in such a short distance."

The court heard that a typed note was later recovered from Matthew's home in the Locking Castle area of the town, which included the unlock codes for his phone, laptop and tablet.

"A statement from a female school friend, A, which gives details of her friendship with Matthew and there is some mention of a closer friendship between another female, DV," Mr Wilson said.

"It seems that Matthew and DV had some sort of liaison the previous day and seems to have gone viral around the school and it appears Matthew could not handle this.

"We made efforts to get an achieving best evidence statement from DV but her parents have refused to give their consent."

Senior Avon Coroner Maria Voisin said that shortly before Matthew's death he told his mother that he would see her later.

Recording a narrative conclusion, she said: "Matthew Brittan walked into the path of a moving train.

"He died from the injuries he sustained and I cannot be sure of his intention to take his own life."

Matthew's parents, Ivor Brittan and Fiona Sibley, attended the brief inquest with other members of their family.

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