Romford train death victim was on cocaine, inquest hears

PUBLISHED: 18:10 24 March 2015 | UPDATED: 09:40 25 March 2015

Coroner's Court

Coroner's Court


A football manager was under the influence of cocaine when he climbed onto a railway track and was hit by a train, an inquest heard today.

The coroner was unable to conclude whether the tragic death of Jack Gatcliffe, 24, was deliberate because of the drugs found in his system.

The recruitment worker, of Homestead Road, Dagenham, had “no worries” and was “full of banter”, his mother Lou Gatcliffe told Walthamstow Coroner’s Court.

He died shortly after 10am on Saturday August 30 when he was hit by a London-bound train at Romford station. He was on his way to meet his sister, who he had spoken to half an hour earlier.

Reading from a written statement from toxicologist Dr Susan Paterson, senior coroner Nadia Persaud said that traces of cocaine found in his liver showed an unknown quantity of the drug had been taken “within hours” of his death.

Further analysis of Jack’s hair showed MDMA, as well as cocaine, had been used in the previous three months.

Gary Mathias, British Transport Police (BTP) fatality investigator, told the court CCTV from the station showed Jack climb down from the empty platform and face the oncoming train.

Speaking in court, Mrs Gatcliffe said he had no relationship problems or financial worries. Medical reports from his GP confirmed no mental health issues.

He left no note and searches on his Facebook and mobile phone by the family produced “no clues” to his actions.

Paying tribute to her son, who she last saw three days before his death, Mrs Gatcliffe said: “He was a happy chappy who never came to us with problems, I can’t get my head round it all, he had no worries.

“I haven’t just lost a perfect son, I’ve lost my best friend.”

Jack, who “lived slept and breathed football,” had recently become manager of local team Dagenham Orient.

His mum told the court he was “very close” to his family and was due to be best man to two friends this year.

Delivering an open verdict, Ms Persaud said she could not conclude Jack killed himself because there was a “question mark of whether he did so voluntarily.”

“I can’t be clear whether he was thinking clearly,” she said. “There is no evidence of his intention or even that he was in a low mood.

“It is possible the level of cocaine meant he was not aware of the consequences of what he was doing.”

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