A teenage boy knocked down and killed by an express train was probably under the influence of cannabis at the time, an inquest jury heard.
Phillip Francis, 18, from West Wales, turned his back on the speeding train and walked down the track as its driver sounded the horn. Within seconds he was hit by the 415-ton First Great Western high-speed train heading to London Paddington from Carmarthen at 7.58am on May 6. An inquest jury in Llanelli heard how the parents and friends of the teenage labourer, of Randall Square, Pembrey, had been devastated by his death.
Driver Michael Jonah said he had already been slowing the train from 75mph to 65mph as he approached Pembrey station from a mile away. He saw the teenager walk out from the side of Talybank Bridge, Pembrey, and continue on to the track. He just continued to walk on the running lines and turned his back. He made no acknowledgement of the horn. He said that he appeared to raise both of his arms to shoulder height in the moment before being struck. The front of the driver’s cab then struck this young person and he disappeared from view below the train, Mr Jonah added.
David Emmott, a British Transport Police investigator, said Phillip had been at a sleepover at a friend’s home in Burry Port that night. He said his parents were aware that he had been using cannabis for about one year but had been unable to stop him taking it. He had left no suicide note, did not suffer from depression and was seen as pleasant and well-balanced by all who knew him. “It seems most likely that his death is the result of disorientation as a result of his use of the drug,” Mr Emmott said.
Pauline Mainwaring, deputy coroner for Llanelli, said a post-mortem report had concluded the teenager had died of multiple injuries. Toxicology tests confirmed that he had taken cannabis not long before the accident. It was likely that he was experiencing one or more of the psychological effects associated with the drug at the time of his death. These include disturbances of memory and judgment, anxiety and panic attacks, irritability and hallucinations. The jury recorded a verdict of accidental death