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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 October 2007, 13:31 GMT 14:31 UK
Rail crash was 'suicide attempt'
The wreckage of the Ufton Nervet rail crash
Five passengers died when the train derailed at Ufton Nervet
A policeman who watched helplessly as a train crashed into a car on a level crossing has told an inquest he thought it was a suicide attempt.

Off-duty constable Mark Brazier said he found the car on tracks near Ufton Nervet in Berkshire.

He told the Slough inquest he flashed his car lights before trying to raise the alarm on a line-side phone.

Pc Brazier said seconds later the train hit Brian Drysdale's car and derailed, killing seven people in November 2004.

It was definitely a suicide attempt
Pc Mark Brazier

The inquest heard that the Thames Valley Police officer believed the crash was a suicide attempt.

The jury heard that Pc Brazier made a phone call to his police control shortly after the crash and said: "It was definitely a suicide attempt. It couldn't have been averted, the train obviously couldn't stop - it was full pelt."

The train driver and five passengers died along with Mr Drysdale when the First Great Western service from London to Plymouth crashed.

Pc Brazier said he drove up to the crossing and saw the car shunting backwards and forwards on the lines, but the driver did not seem to be in a hurry to move it off the tracks.

The wreckage of the car
Pc Brazier said there was "an enormous bang" as the car was hit

The officer said he picked up the phone at the side of the tracks expecting to get a control room operator, but heard only a dialling tone.

At that moment he heard the rails "resonating" from the train approaching and realising it was a fast train, knew there was nothing he could do.

He said there was "an enormous bang" and a "shower of glass" and the train derailed further up the line.

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.

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Footage of the crash site



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