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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 October 2007, 15:27 GMT 16:27 UK
Crash victim waiting for HIV test
Brian Drysdale
The inquest heard Brian Drysdale had called the police and NHS Direct
A man killed when a train hit his car on a level-crossing in Berkshire was awaiting the results of an HIV test when he died, an inquest heard.

Brian Drysdale told doctors that he feared he had the disease after unprotected sex with a male partner.

The coroner's court at Slough heard that the 48-year-old chef tested negative for HIV.

The results were due five days after the crash in November 2004, near Ufton Nervet, which killed seven people.

The First Great Western service from London to Plymouth crashed into his Mazda car.

'Nervous breakdown'

Transcripts of calls Mr Drysdale made in the days before his death to the police and NHS Direct showed that he was concerned about being HIV positive.

He called Thames Valley Police just days before he died saying that he was "being targeted and threatened and also had medical problems".

The court heard a statement from Joanne Senior, from the NHS Direct call centre in Wakefield.

She said that Mr Drysdale told her he might have HIV, was too frightened to leave the house to get a test, and that he had had suicidal thoughts.

One-night stand

He described feeling "his head cracking" and said: "I think I'm having a bit of a nervous breakdown to be honest."

The day before his death, Mr Drysdale went to the Royal Berkshire Hospital for an HIV test.

He told doctors that he was bisexual, that he had last had sex three years ago with a female acquaintance and that he was concerned he had caught HIV after a one-night stand with a man five years previously.

The court also heard evidence from Retainer Group, a Kent company which etches codes on car windows.

The wreckage of the Ufton Nervet rail crash
Five passengers died when the train derailed at Ufton Nervet

One employee, Sergio Nardone, told the court that he had spoken to Mr Drysdale on three occasions, the first about six months before the crash.

He said Mr Drysdale discussed committing suicide by parking his car in front of a train.

The final call took place, said Mr Nardone, on the day of the crash.

Mr Nardone said that he reported the matter to his supervisor and they tried to trace Mr Drysdale through their customer database but they could find no trace of him.

Calls 'reported'

However, the court heard that the company's call monitoring system has no record of that call having been received.

The court also heard that Mr Nardone did not mention the previous calls when police interviewed him.

Coroner Peter Bedford also heard that when Mr Nardone took the original call from Mr Drysdale he told none of his colleagues but attempted to report it to Thames Valley Police, despite not knowing where the man lived.

The court heard that Thames Valley Police have no record of the call having been made.

Barry Strevens, 55, from Wells, Somerset, Emily Webster, 14, from Morehampstead, Devon, Anjanette Rossi, 38, from Speen, Berkshire and her daughter Louella Main, nine, and train driver Stanley Martin, 54, from Torquay, Devon were all killed in the crash.

Leslie Matthews, 72, from Warminster, Wiltshire died in hospital the following day.

The inquest continues.

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