Train crash lawyer tells of horrific ordeal

A LAWYER whom experts feared would die following an horrific rail crash last night told how he managed to walk away from the wreckage – despite suffering life-threatening internal injuries.

Alan Dickinson was on board the 5.31pm Sudbury to Marks Tey train in August when it collided with a 44-tonne sewage tanker in Little Cornard.

The 58-year-old, a partner at Tomlinson and Dickinson solicitors in Sudbury, was the worst injured in the derailment and, at the time, medical experts feared he would not survive.

Mr Dickinson was airlifted to Colchester Hospital, but when staff there were unable to control some internal bleeding he was transferred to the Royal London Hospital.

Just a few weeks later, Mr Dickinson has returned to work at his Sudbury law firm.


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Speaking publicly for the first time about his ordeal, Mr Dickinson said he would not have been on the ill-fated 5.31pm service, but had a personal matter he needed to attend to.

Explaining what happened, Mr Dickinson said: “I got on the train at the last minute. I grabbed the nearest seat and I did not even have time to buy a ticket.

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“I don’t remember the driver shouting anything, but I was in the second carriage and he was at the front. I remember a jolt and the table hit my chest. I collided with the table and it hurt, but it didn’t break my skin and I walked off the train with the other passengers. I remember laying down on the grass verge.”

What Mr Dickinson, who lives in Sudbury, did not know at the time was that he had suffered internal injuries.

The father-of-four now wonders whether it was the adrenalin and the shocked state he was in following the collision which enabled him to walk away.

He said he had barely any recollection of his time in hospital and has only managed to piece together what happened from his family, who were by his bedside throughout his time at the Royal London.

Mr Dickinson preferred not to disclose the details of his injuries, but confirmed the operation he underwent was similar to one carried out on pancreatic cancer patients, which has a 40% mortality rate.

Asked how he feels now, just two months on, Mr Dickinson said: “I feel pretty good. I had a pipe down my throat for a few weeks so my voice is not as deep as it was.

“But I’ve got my energy back and I went to the races on Saturday. I go to sleep a bit earlier, but apart from that I feel good. I’ve survived and I’m back home.”

Mr Dickinson said he had been overwhelmed by the support and good wishes he had received from the public.

Next Tuesday, Mr Dickinson will be boarding his first train since the accident to attend a meeting in Ipswich.

n Lithuanian lorry driver Arvydas Bartasius, of Hawthorn Close, Littleport, near Ely, has been charged with endangering the safety of rail passengers by wilful omission or neglect.

He will appear at Ipswich Crown Court for a plea and case management hearing on October 29.

laurence.cawley@eadt.co.uk

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