Coroner concludes Scott McAdam death 'accidental'

Scott McAdam died on the Ouston railway line, near Chester-le-Street in County Durham, early on November 27 of last year

A man whose confidence suffered a blow when he was assaulted died in an accident when he was hit by a train on his way to go fishing.

Scott McAdam died on the Ouston railway line, near Chester-le-Street in County Durham, early on November 27 of last year.

An inquest at Crook Coroners’ Court heard yesterday the 25-year-old was seen drinking outside of The Wheatsheaf Inn pub in Pelaw Grange at around 10am.

He had earlier told his grandmother Lillian Probert he would be back that afternoon and he planned to go fishing, taking a rod and other equipment with him.

The then-landlord Darren Bailes told the hearing he asked Mr McAdam to move on from the pub grounds before customers began to turn up, but this provoked an angry response.

“He was anxious and was aggressive straight away, immediately, with me having said nothing really,” he said.

“You could tell he was in an anxious sort of state.”

Mr Bailes, who threatened to call the police if he did not move, said it was obvious the young man had been drinking and was carrying with him a carrier bag which seemed to contain more alcohol.

There was then a “sea change” in the conversation, when Mr McAdam asked the landlord if he had “ever suffered from depression”, before he stumbled away from the area.

Shortly after Gary Holtam, a train driver for Cross Country Trains, was taking the 10.35am service south from Newcastle.

He spotted Mr McAdam, of Saddleback, Albany, Washington, Tyne and Wear, on the tracks “two or three seconds” before impact.

Although the driver had time to apply the emergency brake, the carriage had been travelling at 111mph and was not able to slow down in time.

The driver told the hearing Mr McAdam appeared to be crouched on the tracks.

He said: “He looked round over [his] shoulder as if to make an attempt to move from where he was.

“I had two or three seconds at most. Obviously, he didn’t get out of the way.”

PC Wayne Brown, of the British Transport Police, investigated the incident.

He told the hearing Mr McAdam had left his fishing gear in plain view around 300 yards from where he died.

He said Mr McAdam’s family did not believe he would harm himself and there were no notes or contact to suggest he would take his own life.

PC Brown said: “To the family it was a total shock out of nowhere. They had no indication whatsoever.”

Mr McAdam had seemed in “high spirits” and had secured three weeks’ of work before Christmas, the officer said, but had been the victim of an assault a few years earlier.

He added: “The family mentioned nothing about Scott suffering from depression. There was reference to an assault a few years ago.

“They said he had been assaulted and it made him lost his confidence quite a bit.”

County Durham and Darlington coroner Andrew Tweddle recorded a verdict of accidental death.

He said he could not be sure that Mr McAdam had intended to take his own life and, because Mr McAdam’s body has suffered a severe trauma, toxicology reports were unable to determine how much alcohol there was in his system.

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