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Couple throw themselves in front of freight train in suicide pact

 

Pensioners who died in 'suicide pact' by deliberately stepping in front of freight train at unmanned level crossing are named
 

  • Peter Smith, 80, and Betty Evelyn Smith, 79, were killed instantly yesterday
  • Incident happened close to their home in Cherry Willingham, Lincolnshire
  • Couple 'walked onto railway line, straight into the path of the freight train'
  • Family 'deeply saddened and coming to terms with what has happened'

By Mark Duell


The two people who died after being struck by a freight train at a level crossing in apparent suicide pact were today named as an elderly married couple who lived nearby.

Peter Smith, 80, and Betty Evelyn Smith, 79, were killed instantly just before noon yesterday near the Allenby Estates unmanned level crossing close to their home in Cherry Willingham, Lincolnshire.

The couple were said to have walked onto the railway line in the village near Lincoln, straight into the path of the freight train - ignoring the warning horn sounded by the driver of the engine.

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Level crossing: The scene where two people died after being hit by a train in Cherry Willingham, Lincolnshire
 
Probe: Officers and rail workers at the scene of the incident where British Transport Police are investigating
 
Remembered: This morning a floral tribute was placed close to where the tragedy occurred in Lincolnshire Remembered: This morning a floral tribute was placed close to where the tragedy occurred in Lincolnshire
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Their family said in a statement released through police today: ‘We are deeply saddened by our loss and we would now like to ask for privacy while we come to terms with what has happened.’

British Transport Police said its officers were working to establish the full circumstances of the incident, which is currently being treated as non-suspicious.

 

 

Witnesses told how the train driver sounded the horn for at least a minute on the approach to the crossing. This morning a floral tribute was placed close to where the tragedy occurred.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch has been informed and the Central Lincolnshire Coroner is expected to open inquests in the next few days.

The train - which was heading for Immingham Docks on Humberside - was brought to a halt at a second level crossing in the village and just 600ft from a secondary school holding its sports day.

 
Response: East Midlands Ambulance Service workers attended and both people were pronounced dead 

 

 
Further back: Emergency services worked to put up screens to shield local schoolchildren from the scene

 

Emergency services worked to put up screens to shield the schoolchildren from the scene, and staff had to arrange for pupils to take alternative routes home.

The user-worked crossing consists of a 12ft wide metal gate. Drivers have to ring through to the main signal box for clearance to open the gates and cross but pedestrians can walk across via a stile.

East Midlands Ambulance Service pronounced both people dead at the scene. Passenger services between Lincoln and Grimsby were halted for three hours before resuming later in the afternoon.

Local resident Tony Pick, 68, a retired civil engineer, said yesterday: 'I came back home just seconds before the ambulances arrived and it was then I noticed a body lying 100 yards down the track.

'It was an elderly woman as far as I could tell. It's very shocking as you don't really get anything like this happen around here. It is a quiet area.'

 
Stoppages: Services between Grimsby and Lincoln have been affected and parts of the line have been suspended

 

 
Investigation: The incident just before midday is being treated by British Transport Police as 'non-suspicious'
 
Stop Look Listen: Signs warning members of the public to take care near the level crossing in Lincolnshire

 

 

Plumber Mark Daykin was working 200 yards from where the initial impact is said to have happened.

He said: ‘I was working with my boss and we heard the train beep. The driver really gave it the whole horn. We went down to the foot crossing. It looked as though the impact had been there.

'We are deeply saddened by our loss and we would now like to ask for privacy while we come to terms with what has happened'

Family of Peter and Betty Evelyn Smith

 

‘There were no emergency services there yet and we walked further down the line towards the railway bridge where there was blood on the track.

‘It looked as though the train carried on further down the line. We left when the fire service arrived and said it wasn't a very nice scene down there.’

And former military policeman Mike Barker, 67, said: ‘I was out for a walk when I heard the sirens and then we saw the freight train on the level crossing.

‘An ambulance was already there. We heard that two people had been killed further down the line towards Lincoln and this is where the train ended up.

Freight train: East Midlands Ambulance Service attended but both people involved in the accident were pronounced dead at the scene in Lincolnshire
Disruption: Services between Grimsby and Lincoln have been affected and parts of the line have been suspended
 
Location: The incident happened just before midday at the footpath near this level crossing (file picture)

 

‘There is a school and two old people's homes on the street and it can take quite a while to walk across the crossing if you're not fit.’

A BTP spokesman said yesterday: ‘Our officers are currently in attendance at a level crossing in Croft Lane, Cherry Willingham, where two people have been struck by a train. The incident was reported to BTP at 11.57am on July 9 and colleagues from Lincolnshire Police are also on scene.

‘Medics from the East Midlands Ambulance Service are in attendance and both people have been pronounced dead at the scene. Officers are now working to establish the full circumstances of the incident, which is currently being treated as non-suspicious.’

Cherry Willingham, a village of around 3,600 people, is around four miles east of Lincoln. It does not have a train station, but sits on the railway line between Lincoln and Market Rasen.

The Smith couple lived in a bungalow on a road with an average house value of £200,000.

Recent official safety figures revealed that the number of deaths from trespass and suicide on the railways rose from 278 to 300 in 2013/14 - the highest annual figure recorded.

It is thought that this number would have been even higher but for the partnership, recently renewed for another five years, between Network Rail and Samaritans.

  • For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 08457 90 90 90 , visit a local Samaritans branch or click here



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2686050/Two-people-dead-struck-freight-train-level-crossing-Lincolnshire.html#ixzz374gdZhyR
 

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