June 12, 2014
Heroin was a factor in Burnham father's rail line death, hears inquest

An inquest has this week heard how a 'big hearted' father from Burnham-On-Sea was killed by a train.

Anthony Shane Ponting, 34, was killed on July 11th last year after being struck by a train travelling at 110mph near Highbridge Railway Station.

The inquest at Taunton Coroner's Court was told that the man's blood samples had found he was under the influence of drugs, believed to include heroin, which likely played a factor in the death.

The train driver has been receiving counselling since the incident and has required time off from work due to the shock, the inquest heard.

The court heard that Mr Ponting had shared some of his prescription diazepam with a friend at his flat before leaving on the day before the death. He then returned at 5am and fell asleep on a sofa.

He slept until around 4.30pm and then left soon after that, asking a friend for some citric acid and a spoon which the court heard can be used to inject heroin.

Mr Ponting was known to regularly visit a private fishing lake near Springfield Road and was on his way to collect a bag from the site when he was hit by the passing train at 5.42pm.

An eyewitness at nearby Highbridge Railway Station heard the train beeping its horn several times before the collision. He saw one person cross the track and another was close behind but was hit.

Mr Ponting's mother, Patricia, who has recently died, said in a statement read out during the court hearing that her son "had a big heart and would help his friends in any way he could."

The court ruled that Mr Ponting had not taken his life intentionally and the presence of drugs in his system had played a contributory factor.


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