Troubled 25-year-old man took his own life near Hassocks

A troubled 25-year-old man who was hit by a train near Hassocks just hours after flying in from Canada took his own life, a coroner has concluded.

Wednesday, 29th May 2019, 12:38 pm
Police were called to the scene

James Butler was tragically struck and killed by a Brighton-bound Gatwick Express train on October 18 last year.

British Transport Police (BTP) were called to the scene and trains in the area were disrupted for several hours.

An inquest into his death was held at Centenary House in Crawley yesterday.

Police were called to the scene

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BTP fatality investigator Rebecca Saunders told the inquest: “The Gatwick Express train driver travelling towards Brighton had observed a person.

“The train struck the person because it could not stop in time.”

The inquest heard that James – who had lived in Australia – stopped in Thailand, Hong Kong and Toronto on his way to Gatwick in the days leading up to his death.

His phone and wallet had been stolen in a casino in Sydney some time before his trip, the coroner was told.

Landing in the UK at about 10am on October 18, James made his way to Redhill where he checked into a guest house and bought wine, beer and vodka from a local supermarket.

He took a taxi to Hassocks Railway Station. He was last seen on CCTV at 2.45pm in the vicinity of the station.

Assistant coroner Karen Harold said: “James had been a drinker, potentially used drugs and had suffered numerous mental health episodes.

“It is clear to me that James died from the injuries he sustained following the collision with the Gatwick Express train near Hassocks Railway Station.”

She returned a conclusion of suicide and expressed her condolences to James’ family.

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