‘Stop listening to my music,’ urges rap star

Professor Green
Professor Green

British rapper Professor Green is supporting a safety campaign calling for people to take out their headphones before they use a level crossing.

And the plea has brought back memories of a tragic death near Horsham.

Network Rail, which is running the campaign, says there have been two incidents this year where people thought to have been listening to headphones have been hit by a train.

In the last five years, train drivers or railway staff have reported 19 incidents of pedestrians, joggers or cyclists wearing headphones have crossed the railway without appearing to notice an approaching train.

In January, an inquest heard about the tragic case of Christ’s Hospital pupil Matthew Leonard, 18, who died while out for a morning run.

The captain of the school’s cross country running team, had an iPod with him when he was hit by a train near Barns Green. The coroner recorded an accidental death, saying that he could well have been distracted by music - he could not rule out the possibility that Mr Leonard had lost consciousness due to a medical condition.

This week, Professor Green explained why he is supporting the new campaign: “I never imagined asking people to stop listening to my music but this is about staying safe, so just for a minute, I want them to stop.

“I know it’s very easy to get caught up in a track when you have your headphones on and get distracted from where you are and what’s around you but I’m asking, please, lose your headphones when at a level crossing and pay attention to all the safety warnings. I don’t want anyone to end up on the tracks listening to one of mine.”

Headphones are thought to be a particular problem, not just because of the music, but because they tend to block out ambient noise.