Trains only stopped from hitting a trespasser on a track if the body will cause damage, inquest hears
- Credit: Archant
Measures to stop a train from hitting a trespasser on the track will only be used if the person’s body will damage the vehicle, an inquest heard.
Devante Keane, 20, was killed after he was hit by a train while fleeing police in Willesden, despite rail operators being informed of his presence nearly 20 minutes before.
North London Coroner’s Court were told companies are under no obligation to stop a train to save the life someone on the tracks.
Chief Inspector Paul O’Herlihy, from the Met’s Central Communication Command, said: “Requests by police to stop a train can’t be made unless the presence of a trespasser might damage the train.”
Coroner Dr Andrew Walker remarked: “Why is it only today that we’re picking up this issue? How many meetings must there have been between the relevant organisations to discuss this matter?”
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Mr Keane, from Essex, had broken free from two officers who stopped him on Christchurch Avenue, believing he was in possession of drugs in November 2013.
They gave chase and Mr Keane was also pursued by a police helicopter and a team of search dogs as he scrambled across gardens and vaulted the fence on to the railway lines. A post-mortem found no evidence of physical injury caused by Taser use, a baton strike or a dog bite that could have caused his death or disoriented him.
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It also found it was likely that he was under the influence of cocaine and cannabis at the time.
Adjourning the inquest until Thursday, Dr Walker said he wanted to know exactly where the train was when calls were made to London Underground.
He said he could possibly make recommendations ‘for changes that would allow police to stop trains in the circumstances where a person’s life is at risk’.