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Accidental death verdict for man found on live railway track
A MAN died after stepping on to a live rail at Dorchester South railway station, an inquest was told.
Joseph Silvey, 24, was found between the tracks in the early hours of Sunday, August 19.
Coroner Sheriff Payne recorded a verdict of accidental death at Dorset County Hall.
He said Mr Silvey had put his foot on a live rail which was a ‘pure accident that cost him his life’.
The inquest heard how CCTV footage revealed Mr Silvey walking on to the platform and ‘lowering himself down on to the tracks’ before he stepped onto the third live rail and ‘fell backwards’.
Pathologist Mark Deverell said analysis of his shoe, which was found lying near the live rail, confirmed that he had stepped on to it which ‘strongly suggested it was death by electrocution’.
He said that although the post mortem revealed no burn marks usually visible with cases of electrocution, it did not rule it out or mean it did not happen.
Police and paramedics were called to the scene by Network Rail just after 4am where Mr Silvey, from Cheltenham, was pronounced dead.
He had been visiting his friend Christopher Worth-ington-Foxley, who lives in the county town, for the weekend when the tragedy happened.
They had been out drinking with friends in various Dorchester bars on Saturday night before Mr Silvey walked off alone at around 3am to buy food.
The inquest heard how Mr Worthington-Foxley had tried to contact his visitor several times by 3.50am.
Witness Mr Worthington-Foxley, who met Mr Silvey when he previously lived in Cheltenham, said he did receive a call from his friend at 3.27am but there was no sound.
“I couldn’t get through so I texted him my address.
“I have no idea how or why he ended up at Dorchester South, he didn’t arrive by that station and wouldn’t have known how to get back to mine from there.”
Nigel Scott, of British Transport Police, said: “The CCTV captured him on his mobile phone walking past the ticket office, car park and platform.”
He added that Mr Silvey then seemed to try and head back towards the town by walking across the tracks.
The postmortem confirmed that Mr Silvey had no major internal or external abnormalities and while ‘high alcohol levels’ were found in his blood, Mr Deverell said this would not have impacted on his death.
‘Clear signs and markings on platforms to warn’
A SPOKESWOMAN for South West Trains and Network Rail Alliance, said: “Joseph’s death was a tragic accident and our thoughts are with his family and friends.
“Trespass on the railway poses serious safety risks and the railway industry invests a lot of time and money to educate young people and the wider public about the importance of always staying on platforms and not accessing the tracks at any time or for any reason.
“There are clear signs and markings on platforms to warn passengers about where they should stand so they are safe and not putting themselves or others at risk.
“We will continue to invest in rail safety education to try and prevent avoidable and tragic deaths like this.”
THE father of tragic Joseph Silvey has hit out against ‘unclear signs’ at Dorchester South train station.
Speaking to the Echo after the inquest, Robin Silvey, 63, said: “Since Joe died I have found it really hard to believe that there is a live rail when trains aren’t running.
“I have been to the station and I really don’t think the signs clearly show that there are live rails.
“The platform slopes down and you can just walk straight on to the line, it is dangerous.”
He added: “I have contacted Network Rail and South West Trains about this.”
The distraught father, who lives on Portland and admits to not seeing his son in recent years, said he was a ‘great guy’.
“What Joe did was crazy but he had been drinking, it was a complete waste of life.
“He isn’t the first to die in this way, but I do hope he will be the last.”
His mum Suzanne, who lives in Cheltenham, told the inquest that her son showed an early passion for cars.
When he died he was working for a Chelten-ham engineering company, a job he was said to have loved.
Around 60 people are killed on the railway every year by crossing the tracks, taking short cuts or playing chicken.