Boy killed by train after school gossip

PUBLISHED: 09:00 24 June 2016

Matthew Brittan

Matthew Brittan


A 14-year-old Weston schoolboy was killed after he walked in front of a train at an unmanned crossing, an inquest heard this week.

Matthew Brittan, a pupil at Worle Community School in Redwing Drive, was killed instantly when the 70-tonne train struck him at around 4.50pm on February 1, at Finch Close foot crossing in Worle.

Avon Coroner’s Court was told he had left a note to his family after struggling to deal with how news of a ‘liaison’ with a female friend the previous day had spread around the school, but coroner Maria Voisin said she could not be sure of his intentions.

The court heard the driver of the train sounded the horn twice and applied its emergency brake when he saw Matthew approaching the crossing, but could not avoid the collision.

John Wilson, of British Transport Police, told the court: “He departed Weston Milton and was going at around 40mph when he saw a person approaching the crossing and sounded the horn.

“The person moved back, but then walked directly in front of the train. Despite applying the brake, there was nothing he could do in such a short distance.”

Matthew was pronounced dead from his injuries at 5.10pm, and a note was later found by his family.

British Transport Police later interviewed one of his friends in the wake of the tragedy, and they shed light on the incident from the previous day.

Mr Wilson said: “A statement from a female school friend gave an explanation of their friendship.

“Matthew and another girl had a liaison the day before the incident, and it went viral around the school. It appears he could not handle this.”

Coroner Maria Voisin recorded a narrative verdict for Matthew’s death, after his family had told the court of the final conversation he had with his mother on the day of his death.

She said: “I am mindful that Matthew told his mother he would see her later so I believe it would be appropriate to summarise with a narrative conclusion.

“Matthew Brittan walked into the path of a moving train, but I cannot be sure of his intention to take his own life.”

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