Footbridge safety changes to follow 21-year-old's railway death

All mainline trains through Colchester have been blocked due to a trespassing incident Picture: Nata

Luiz Anjos died on the railway line near Colchester station - Credit: Archant

Enhanced safety measures are being planned for a railway footbridge in response to a coroner's concerns following the death of a 21-year-old man near Colchester station.

Luiz Anjos was found dead on the tracks under St Dominic Road footbridge on the morning of November 7 last year.

A post mortem examination recorded the preliminary cause of death as multiple traumatic injuries.

A subsequent inquest by senior coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray concluded that Mr Anjos had taken his own life while suffering from a diagnosed mental illness. 

Mrs Beasley-Murray said that evidence revealed during the inquest had given rise to concerns. 

In her opinion, said the coroner, there was a risk of future deaths unless action was taken.

A report to prevent future deaths was sent to the Highways department of Essex County Council under regulation 28 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.

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Although a lack of crisis signs at the location had been remedied since the incident, the coroner also raised concerns about access over the footbridge parapet and sides.

Essex Highways has since outlined plans to carry out safety improvement work at the bridge.

In a letter published by the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary on Wednesday, the department's structures manager said recommendations had been explored further and an inspection report had been finalised.

Essex Highways said three potential improvement options had been identified for the bridge, including the installation of an enclosed mesh canopy to the entire footbridge or a solid screen extension to the top of the existing bridge parapet, as well as a preferred third option of installing full height panels to form corrugated steel parapets.

A full structural assessment of the St Dominic Road footbridge is estimated to be completed by the end of January.

Essex Highways said the design of any refurbishment work would then take about 12 weeks to complete.

If agreed by Network Rail, the work would then take a further estimated six weeks to complete.

The Samaritans provides emotional support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope, or at risk of suicide. A free helpline is available round the clock on 116 123.

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