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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 October 2007, 17:50 GMT 18:50 UK
Crash driver 'faced prosecution'
The wreckage of the Ufton Nervet rail crash
Five passengers died when the train derailed at Ufton Nervet
A man whose car caused a crash on a level crossing in which seven people died could have faced murder charges had he survived, an inquest has heard.

Brian Drysdale, 48, was awaiting HIV test results when his vehicle was struck by the train near Ufton Nervet in Berkshire in November 2004.

The British Transport Police officer leading the inquiry told jurors he would have pushed for his prosecution.

Most of the dead suffered head injuries from being thrown from their carriages.

We would have been looking at manslaughter or potentially, murder charges
Det Chief Supt Eammon Carroll

Det Chief Supt Eammon Carroll, of the British Transport Police, said: "In my view, he would have faced charges.

"We would have been looking at manslaughter, or potentially murder, charges."

Earlier, the police officer told the court that Mr Drysdale did not have insurance for his car.

On Thursday, jurors also heard Dr Philip Joseph, a consultant forensic psychiatrist, describe him as "tormented by his homosexuality" which he had concealed from friends and some of his family.

Dr Joseph said Mr Drysdale was likely to have developed "paranoid psychosis or delusions and was losing touch with reality".

The court heard he attempted to phone a hospital - where he had been repeatedly tested for HIV - four times on the day he died.

But because the clinic was closed on Saturday, he could not get through.

"He may have believed he was already dying of Aids," said the psychiatrist. In fact the test later proved negative.

But Dr Joseph said there was little to suggest Mr Drysdale had intended to kill people on the train though he may have been "indifferent to that possibility".

The inquest in Slough was also shown graphic images showing where the victims had died.

Resuscitation attempt

Det Chief Supt Carroll went on to describe how nine-year-old Louella Main, from Berkshire, was found on the track "with a faint pulse, unconscious but breathing".

Her mother, Anjanette Rossi, 38, from Speen, lay dead nearby, the court heard.

It appeared they were thrown through the carriage window.

Two doctors spent 15 minutes attempting to resuscitate the young girl but she died, jurors were told.

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

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.

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

The inquest continues.

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08 Oct 07 |  Berkshire

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