Man who drove in front of train told daughter he ‘had enough’, inquest hears

The level crossing at Palgrave where a train collided with Michael Howsen's car. Picture: DENISE BRA

The level crossing at Palgrave where a train collided with Michael Howsen's car. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

A man who drove his car onto train tracks at a level crossing in Suffolk told his daughter he had ‘had enough’ just minutes before his car was hit by a train, an inquest has heard.

Michael Howsen died when his car was struck at Palgrave level crossing on September 29, 2018.

An inquest heard how emergency services were called to the scene shortly after 6pm. On their arrival, officers found Mr Howsen's silver car trapped underneath the train, a mile down the track. He had died from multiple injuries.

Assistant coroner, Dr Dan Sharpstone, told the court how Mr Howsen had been involved in another near miss with a train just minutes before the collision.

The 54-year-old from Fressingfield, who had a long history of mental illness including a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia had called his daughter as well as the Samaritans shortly before the near miss.

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She had tried to persuade him to go home and get help several times during the call after he had told her he'd 'had enough'.

Despite applying the emergency breaks the train, which was carrying over 100 passengers, collided with Mr Howsen's car, travelling a further mile before coming to a halt.

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Dr Sharpestone concluded that Mr Howsen 'died after a collision with a train' which happened as a consequence of him 'deliberately stopping his car in front of the train'.

- Samaritans are available to talk to 24/7 on 116 123.

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