Homeless man took own life on rail track

PUBLISHED: 13:03 10 September 2013 | UPDATED: 13:03 10 September 2013

Flax Bourton Coroners' Court

Flax Bourton Coroners' Court


A MAN killed himself by walking in front of a train just 40 minutes after being fined at North Somerset Courthouse for stealing beer, an inquest heard.

An inquest into the death of 29-year-old William Goldsmith revealed he deliberately stood in the path of a high speed train near Worle Parkway station.

The unemployed man from South Gloucestershire had lived on the streets for a number of years and the incident occurred after he was in court on May 14.

On Wednesday, at a hearing at Flax Bourton Coroner’s Court, assistant deputy coroner Anthony Fairweather, said: “He appeared at North Somerset magistrates court, for the theft of beer the 
previous day (May 13).

“He was fined and left the court at 4.10pm.

There were no concerns about his well-being before or after his release.”

The incident occurred at about 4.50pm on the Bristol side of the station, a short distance from the courthouse.

A British Transport Police (BTP) report stated the average speed of the train was 100mph and prior to leaving Bristol the driver, Andrew Hudd, had checked the train.

The police report stated: “Weather conditions were wet and windy. After the train passed over the crossing Mr Hudd saw a person dressed in dark clothing walking along the line.

“When he was half a mile away Mr Hudd sounded the horn twice.

“He decided the person was possibly attempting to take his own life and put his brakes on and sounded the horn. The person was looking directly at the train. He had the choice to move but did not do so.

“The train struck him at 30-40 mph. Emergency services staff arrived and saw him beneath the train.”

Mr Goldsmith sustained multiple injuries and died at the scene. He was later identified by fingerprints by an officer of the BTP.

Mr Fairweather said: “Mr Goldsmith had lived on the streets for a number of years.

“He spoke to his family but despite their efforts he would only visit home once every three months.

“They did not know his whereabouts at the time and they had not seen him since the beginning of April.”

The coroner concluded Mr Goldsmith committed suicide.

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