A horrified rail passenger told how she saw a 24-year-old man die after he stuck his head out the window of their speeding train.
Kirstin Duffield was returning from holiday with her teenage daughter when the man, stood at the end of their carriage, slumped to the floor after a loud “thud.”
Following national media reports, Ms Duffield insisted that the 24-year-old was not decapitated on the Gatwick Express when the horrific incident happened at around 5.30pm on Sunday.
Ms Duffield, who owns an IT software company, said she believed the man was peering out of a window by the guard’s box when he was struck but she had not noticed him previously.
She said: “I looked up and I heard a thud and saw a gentleman slump to the floor.
“He was alone. He was dead.
“From the extent of the injuries, it looked like he was looking forward and something had hit him.
“I would assume it was a bridge or an immobile object such as a signal box.
“But the police don’t know what he hit at this stage.
“He sustained significant head injuries and died at the scene. There was significant blood loss.
“I was on the train and I am the only witness. There was one lady who was facing the other way. She got up and looked over the back of her seat and saw him fall to the ground.”
Ms Duffield, of Dorchester, Dorset, was unable to ascertain what exactly he was doing at the time but was sure another train was not involved.
She said it was close to ten minutes after the man was struck that the train pulled into Wandsworth Common station in south west London.
She said: “There was no other train involved. It was the embankment side he was hit. I’m not sure what he hit but there was no other train involved.
“The train wasn’t going very fast, it was probably 40 to 50mph.
“It happened before the station and with enough time for two minutes to pass before we pulled the cord and to stop the train before the station.
“The driver came down and then had to decide what to do next. I took control of the situation and then he needed to drive the train into the next station.
“The passengers acted brilliantly, they stayed calm. I moved them forward to the next carriage. They all did what they were asked to do.”
Ms Duffield said the train started at Gatwick where she boarded with her daughter, and they were due to stay one night in London before returning to Dorset.
She said she was “sadly” unable to shelter her daughter from seeing the aftermath.
She said: “I was coming back from holiday with my daughter.
“We will be taking any steps to support her through this but it’s a big thing for a teenager to go through.
“She woke up this morning very quiet and introverted. When she spoke she said she was angry, she had survivor’s guilt already.”
The BTP confirmed the man, from East Grinstead, West Sussex, was not hit by another train.
A spokeswoman said: “It’s believed to have been the embankment side that he was struck.”
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1) Make our website your homepage
2) Like our Facebook page
3) Follow us on Twitter
4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!
Always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.