Support for rail crash victim

A LAWYER left critically injured in an horrific Suffolk railway crash was only on board the train because he had to attend to a family matter, it has emerged.

Alan Dickinson, 58, suffered life-threatening injuries when the 5.31pm train from Sudbury to Marks Tey smashed into a sewage lorry in Little Cornard on Tuesday.

Mr Dickinson, a partner in Tomlinson and Dickinson solicitors in Sudbury, was yesterday in a stable but critical condition in intensive care at the Royal London Hospital.

Ross Wallace, a partner in Mr Dickinson’s firm in Friar’s Street, Sudbury, said everyone at the practice had been shocked by news of the crash.

“Obviously we were all very shocked by what happened and extremely upset,” he said. “We are slightly brighter now as we understand his condition is stable.”

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Mr Dickinson was one of 17 people taken to hospital after the smash, in which 21 people were injured.

Mr Wallace said Mr Dickinson, who lives in Sudbury, did not usually take the train and had only been travelling to deal with a family matter.

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“It was a one off really,” Mr Wallace said. “It’s one of those awful things that happens.

“We all miss Alan as both a colleague and a friend.

“We are quite a close office and our thoughts go out to his family.”

Richard Tomlinson, a former partner in the firm who had worked with Mr Dickinson for 20 years, praised his friend.

“It is tragic,” he said. “Alan is a highly-intelligent person and a very good solicitor.”

Another friend, Alan Cocksedge, said Mr Dickinson was good company and very knowledgeable and entertaining when discussing his sporting interests.

He said: “He’s a keen sports buff and has an encyclopedic knowledge of racing and cricket.

“He’s a keen follower of Sudbury Cricket Club watching many of their games, and he takes his elderly father there in his wheelchair on many Saturday afternoons.”

Mr Cocksedge, who is chairman of the Sudbury 41 club, said Mr Dickinson was a member.

He said: “The club is offering him all the support, and his family all the support, they can.”

On Friday, 38-year-old Arvydas Bartasius, of Littleport, near Ely, was released on bail by magistrates in Bury St Edmunds on a charge of endangering the safety of persons conveyed by the railway.

The Lithuanian national is accused of driving the tanker across the unmanned sewage works level crossing in Bures Road, near Sudbury, last Tuesday, without first notifying the signalman in contravention of notices at the site.

He will appear before magistrates again on October 1.

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