Planner died in rail tragedy

A PLANNING officer from Horsham died when he was in collision with a train at a foot crossing north of Littlehaven Station, an inquest heard.

Andrew Maisey, 41, from Standen Place, who had worked at Horsham District Council for 15 years, died from multiple injuries after the collision at Spooners foot crossing, at 7.30pm on Tuesday, October 29.

At an inquest at Crawley Hospital on Tuesday Andrew's tearful mother, Priscilla, said her son had started to show signs of depression in early 2000 and was attending Horsham Hospital as an out-patient.

"I think he had started his problem as early as 1998 but we weren't aware of it until 2000. He came to visit us and said he had begun with panic attacks and things like that. I think it began with stress at work."

By January 2002 Andrew had returned to work but speaking about a blessing of his brother's wedding in July, Mrs Maisey said: "I think it may have been a trigger. He told us afterwards he had a panic attack at the reception."

Shortly after this event the planning officer was taken into hospital under the Mental Health Act when he was found lying in a garden in south Croydon.

Mrs Maisey said Andrew was 'absolutely delusional' and for his own safety spent two months in hospital.

Andrew returned to his family home in the Midlands but Mrs Maisey said he rapidly deteriorated and 'after the first few days he became very strange and delusional' and he was brought back to Horsham Hospital.

At the end of September Mrs Maisey and her husband, John, attended a meeting with Andrew and his doctors, to plan his future care.

"He had progressed well after the first ten days in hospital, they had sedated him to get him stabilised and he seemed fine enough. He thought he could at this rate be back at work within seven weeks.

"That was all agreed and we were thinking he has come out of this. He will be stabilised on his medication and things will be all right."

Mrs Maisey said she spoke to Andrew every day after he returned home, although he was still regularly reporting to the hospital.

She added: "He wanted to be happy. He was trying to do all the right things. It was a long hard road."

West Sussex coroner Roger Stone said following Andrew's death, notes had been found on his computer called the Black Cloud.

He stated that although the notes showed he was 'struggling', he had 'reacted well' to the support from his family and friends and he could 'find no evidence he was planning an end to his life'.

Christopher Holding, the driver of the South Central 6.10pm service from London Victoria to Horsham said he approached Spooners foot crossing about 7.30pm.

He stated he was travelling along that stretch at about 30mph when 'I saw some movement' which he said was 'just on the crossing or just beyond the crossing'.

"One moment there was nothing there and the next I could see something which was clearly unusual. I tightened my focus to have a better look at what it was.

"The moment I recognised it was a person I put the brake into emergency. All this took place in less than three to four seconds."

He said Andrew 'was standing still, facing the train'.

He added: "By the time I could establish what it was, it was a person just standing there. I did not see him step out."

John Carroll, a staff nurse at the mental health unit at Horsham Hospital, said the week before his death Andrew 'had a lot of restless energy but he felt he had that under control at that time and that he was on one long roller coaster ride'.

He added: "He was not overtly depressed.