Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 11°C

Search

Bury St Edmunds/Great Barton: Train driver “devastated” at speeding investigation took his own life at Cattishall level crossing

19:39 05 June 2014

Cattishall level crossing

Cattishall level crossing

A train driver left “devastated” at being investigated for a speeding breach took his own life at a west Suffolk level crossing, an inquest has heard.

shares

Neil Saunders, of Bury St Edmunds, had a previously unblemished record in 15 years as a train driver until the brief lack of concentration resulted in the speeding incident, the inquest was told.

The 44-year-old was reportedly left with “concerns and anxieties” after the incident, and took his life at the Cattishall level crossing in Great Barton in February – four months after his train passed through a stop signal.

He was due to get back in control of a train for a new job on the night of the tragedy.

Suffolk coroner Dr Peter Dean told the hearing in Bury that Mr Saunders was left “devastated” by the investigation, which led to him leaving his job.

Dr Dean added: “He lived for the job and took great pride in being a very good train driver.

“Prior to this he had an unblemished record of service and clean sickness record. It does appear the incident had undermined his confidence to a certain extent.

“Although people around him loved him and cared for him, he clearly had worries about the previous incident, concerns and anxieties, but I don’t think anybody could have predicted the action he took that night.”

The signal passed at danger (SPAD) incident happened in November, while Mr Saunders was working for Direct Rail Services.

An investigation found he had exceeded the speed limit on part of the track, which was attributed to a brief lack of concentration due to some concerns he had at the time.

The 44-year-old of Plovers Way, near Nowton Park, found new employment with Freightliner Heavy Haul, and was reportedly left feeling “upbeat” after an initial assessment.

However, on February 24 – a week after the assessment – he was due to meet his new team leader in Peterborough for a night shift, but instead headed to the level crossing off Mount Road.

He was hit by a passenger train travelling from Ipswich to Cambridge at around 8pm, the inquest heard.

The driver of the train reported seeing Mr Saunders standing in the “four foot” – the space between the two tracks – facing away from the oncoming train.

The driver applied the emergency brakes, but did not have time to sound the horn.

Mr Saunders had dinner with his family before he left that night and reportedly there was “nothing untoward”, but he had discussed his new job with his wife Kate during the day.

Dr Dean said: “There was some discussion during the day about whether he was worried about going to work, and one gets the sense of some concern, but she gave him reassurance and he said ‘he wished he had her optimism’.”

shares

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ipswich Star visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ipswich Star staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ipswich Star account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

The police helicopter was deployed to help with the search.

The police helicopter was deployed to help find a young man after his family raised concern for his wellbeing.

Drink driver in court

An army driver’s career is hanging in the balance after he was caught driving while nearly three times the alcohol limit.

Dr Fayez Ayache is heartbroken by the escalating problems in his homeland

“Syria should be the most secure place in the middle east, but it’s the most destructive place on earth.”

The area of memory trees in Rushmere St Andrew which could be set for development. Bruce Goudy (member of Sorry) is pictured.

The family of an Ipswich soldier killed in Afghanistan in 2007 are joining a growing campaign against a development which could see a tree planted in his memory lost.

Roadworks at the junction of Handford Road and Portman Road in Ipswich.

Ipswich leaders have voiced their outrage as a major Ipswich road is being dug up for the sixteenth time in ONE year – bringing chaos to parts of the town centre.

Efit issued after runner assaulted on  footpath off Quilter Drive, Ipswich, on August 26

An Efit has been issued of a man police want to speak to after a runner was assaulted.

Olly Rofix, who is taking on an epic tractor journey the length of Britain in his tractor

A cancer survivor, whose charity challenges have included circumnavigating the UK in an 18ft sailing boat, is today setting off on his latest fundraising escapade.

Police burglary investigation - stock photo

A burglar who targeted elderly people living in sheltered housing accomodation in Suffolk and Essex has been jailed for seven years.

Man holds onto a fence outside of a train that was stopped in Bicske, Hungary, Friday, Sept. 4, 2015. Over 150,000 migrants have reached Hungary this year, most coming through the southern border with Serbia. Many apply for asylum but quickly try to leave for richer EU countries. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

Three Suffolk MPs have added their calls for Britain to join other European countries in offering more Syrian refugees a safe haven.

The Woodbridge Heritage Group are campaigning against the proposed relocation of

Campaigners fighting for a statue to remain in the town where it has stood for 35 years have received backing from a relative of its original benefactor.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages