Dad hit by train died days after announcing partner was expecting twin girls

Dad hit by train died days after announcing partner was expecting twin girls

December 17, 2018

A dad died just days after announcing to friends and family that his partner was expecting twin girls.

Billy Townsend, 24, of Hornchurch, Essex, died on August 3, 2018 – just days after he struck by a train at Goodmayes Station.

A inquest ruled his death was the result of a tragic "misadventure" when he crossed onto the tracks when his train was due to arrive on a different platform, Essex Live reported .

Fearing that he would be late for work, the duct worker tragically died after he failed to spot a passing train ahead.

The dad-of-one was "full of life" and in "high spirits", as he and his partner Grace were starting a family and saving for a house.

He had told his loved ones about the pregnancy at a family garden party and said they were expecting the twins before Christmas.

He has since saved the lives of five people through organ donation after his death.

His mum, Kelly, had dropped him off at the station, on Tuesday, July 31, where he met an old school friend as he was travelling on the train.

However, when they arrived at Goodmayes Station, the train that they were on had a fault. This lead to the train driver being unable to open the doors.

All passengers were told to exit the train and to make their way to another platform for an alternative service.

Billy crossed the footbridge with his friend.

When they arrived at a different platform there was a lot of confusion about which train passengers should be taking.

Announcements on the tannoy, as well as the staff on site, gave conflicting messages, an inquest into his death heard.

This lead to the two friends having to travel to a different platform again to catch their train.

It was around 6.54am in the morning rush hour.

Aiden Taylor, a friend who had known Billy since primary school, was with him on that day. When he turned around to look for Billy he wasn’t there.

"I looked back to see Billy was now on the tracks. I heard the sound of the train horn coming from the left," said Aiden, in a statement that was read out during the hearing.

As the train approached, Aiden looked away.

"I looked back and saw him. I tried to get to him but there was too many people."

Billy had a black McAllister tool bag with him and a rucksack.

Eye witness accounts saw the bags thrown across to the other platform and the dad jump onto the line to get to the other side.

A train driver travelling to the platform closest to Billy saw him.

His statement was read aloud by Assistant Coroner, Ian Wade QC, who quoted: "I saw him jump down off the platform I was approaching and cross over the lines towards the other platform.

"He was about three quarters a way across and I sounded my horn and applied the emergency breaks."

But there was another train travelling at full speed approaching Billy.

The operator of that train has been a train driver for 17 years. He said that Billy "wouldn’t have seen him".

"A male decided to cross the lines in front of me. He was half way up the platform from what I remember. Someone had thrown a bag on platform three," he said in his statement.

"When he started to cross he wouldn’t have seen me, he was the only one crossing."

The driver applied the emergency stop and sounded his horn. The train was travelling at around 85 miles per hour as it was passing through the station.

It took a quarter of a mile for the train to stop completely.

Anxious and distressed passengers looked on as Billy was injured and on the platform.

Assistant Coroner, Ian Wade QC, said: "The train collided with him, he was not in obvious pain. The impact would have shocked his system.

"The pain was not imminent. He was helpless, he couldn’t do anything.

"That’s why a crowd of anxious and distressed onlookers, they couldn’t get to him where he was on the platform – it was on the other side of a high fence.

"Someone managed to vault over that high fence to his aid."

Two bystanders took off their belts to try to stop the bleeding from Billy’s injuries.

Emergency services, including paramedics from London Ambulance Service, Metropolitan Police and British Transport Police arrived on the scene in minutes and he was taken to Royal London Hospital.

When he was at the hospital he had surgery for his injuries and was put into an induced coma. Over the next few days he was monitored with brain scans.

When he was scheduled in for more surgery on August 2, the anaesthetist informed the consultant that Billy’s eyes were no longer responsive.

Billy died on August 3, 2018, three days after the incident.

A letter to the coroner was also read out in court from his mother, Kelly.

She said: "He was in high spirits prior to the accident. He was looking forward to his twin girls being born in December.

"Before the accident, the family learned how Grace and Billy were looking forward to the prospects of their life together, they were saving for a deposit on a property.

"He enjoyed his job too."

He also had a five-year-old daughter from a previous relationship who he adored.

Billy’s employer also said: "Billy was a promising prospect. He was punctual, he was polite and he was a real asset to the team."

Coroner Wade said: "He was eager and not to be late for work.

"He has a family, this was a stupid decision, it’s cost him his life."

It also came out that Billy has saved the lives of five different people since his passing.

His grandfather told the coroner: "Some good things will come out of this to benefit other people.

"Billy’s life was not in vain. He saved five people’s lives through organ donation."

A post mortem found that Billy died of cerebral edema caused by polytrauma. Cebreal edema is the excess accumulation of water in and around parts of the brain.

Coroner Wade concluded the inquest, which took place at Walthamstow Council Chambers in the Town Hall on Friday, December 14.

He said: "By caring too much about getting to work on time and possibly impatient at the disruption of everyone’s journey, in a moment, he jumped from the platform.

"What he did was a deliberate action. He did not find himself in front of a path of a train because of a shove from somebody else or a fit or seizure.

"He was gambling and the gamble did not pay off there."

The conclusion of the inquest was recorded as misadventure.

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