Death of Yapton man hit by train was ‘suicide’

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A TRAIN driver has told of his horror after a man stepped onto the track in front of him.

At an inquest at Centenary House, in Durrington, assistant coroner Elizabeth Jones ruled John William Stewart’s death was a suicide. The 57-year-old died from multiple injuries after walking into the path of an oncoming train near the Drayton level crossing, outside of Chichester, just before 8pm on August 13, 2014.

Mr Stewart lived in Yapton and worked as a billing inspector.

He was formerly an English teacher at St Philip Howard Catholic High School, in Barnham.

Train driver Douglas Robbins was operating the service from Portsmouth to Brighton at the time of Mr Stewart’s death.

He said: “The weather was dry and bright and the train had left Barnham and was going to Chichester.

“One hundred yards in front, I saw a man run out and stand with his back to the train.

“After two seconds, the train hit him.

“Out of instinct, I shouted ‘get out of the way’.

“He ran out so quickly I had no time to react.”

Investigating officer Gary Ansell, from the British Transport Police, said Mr Stewart left no notes or messages and had run out from bushes next to the track.

He said Mr Stewart had ‘absolutely no concern for his welfare’ and that he seemed fine prior to his death.

He added: “It appears to be a deliberate act.

“Our sympathies go with the family.”

Mr Stewart was last seen at 6.45pm on the day he died.

His wife Angela said there was ‘no question’ of him suffering from depression or stress and he was in good health.