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Train that hit and killed man during police pursuit in Willesden could have been averted, inquest hears

PUBLISHED: 10:31 04 June 2015 | UPDATED: 10:43 04 June 2015

Deavante Keane was killed in Willesden (Pic credit: Twitter)

Deavante Keane was killed in Willesden (Pic credit: Twitter)

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The death of a student who was chased by police in Willesden and then hit by a train could have been averted, an inquest heard.

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Deavante Keane, from Essex, was killed by a Chilterns Railway train near Dartmouth Road, following a 40 minute chase by police in November 2013.

North London Corners Court heard yesterday his containment by police officers and a lack of communication between the police and railway companies may have cost the 20-year-old his life.

Mr Keane broke free from two officers who had stopped him on Christchurch Avenue, believing he was in possession of drugs.

A post mortem revealed Mr Keane was ‘high on cocaine and cannabis’ at the time of his death and that his jacket contained 12 wrapped packages of class A and B drugs.

The court heard how Mr Keane had been chased by the two officers, a police helicopter and a team of search dogs as he scrambled across gardens and vaulted the fence on to the railway lines.

Coroner Andrew Walker asked Inspector Nicholas Brandon, from the British Transport Police, if Mr Keane’s “containment” by officers acted as an “active pursuit” to which he said no, that Mr Keane “chose to go to the track… It was not suspicious; there were no other people involved.”

Mr Walker said: “A loose definition that no other person was involved in his death?” to which the police officer said “yes”.

Mr Walker said he didn’t understand why no photographs were taken of the train, particularly as it was a “more serious incident involving containment of an individual. In this case steps were not taken to record the train.”

Inspector Brandon replied: “I didn’t think there was any need.”

On the third day of the five-day inquest, the coroner tried to understand from police witnesses at what point the train driver had been told stop, if a call had been made at all, after discovering the day before Network Rail will only decide to stop if a train is in danger, not a person, for which it will merely slow down.

He said: “The whole system is rife for review so if police officers make the call asking the train to be stopped, it has to happen and it can’t be overruled by Network Rail’s rule book.”

The train was travelling at 43 miles per hour when Mr Keane was hit late in the afternoon, when it was already dark outside, the court heard.

CCTV cameras showed it “shudder” to a stop.

The hearing continues.

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