Lives at risk on Chichester railway ‘shortcut’ warns coroner

Andrzej Pokorski, 21, from Bognor Regis, was electrocuted and died at the Drayton train crossing SUS-150224-090430001
Andrzej Pokorski, 21, from Bognor Regis, was electrocuted and died at the Drayton train crossing SUS-150224-090430001

A coroner has warned more lives could be at risk after a 21-year-old died after using a railway line as a ‘shortcut’.

Andrzej Pokorski, known as AJ, 21, of Kingsway, Selsey, died after being electrocuted while walking along the railway line between Drayton Lane and Chichester in the early hours of February 14, 2015.

At an inquest into his death, held at County Hall North, on August 12, Penelope Schofield, coroner for West Sussex, said she would write to Network Rail and West Sussex County Council in a bid to improve safety at the level crossing.

“The rail track that is close to the Thursdays nightclub is a shortcut back to Chichester,” she said. “People are putting their lives at risk.”

Mr Pokorski had been celebrating a birthday with friends at Thursdays Nightclub, but was ‘ejected’ from the club after an altercation, ‘punched’ a taxi driver and left to walk home with a friend.

He walked on to the line from the level crossing on Drayton Lane, following the railway line to Chichester.

DC Brian Mitchell, from British Transport Police, said Mr Pokorski’s friend Christian noticed he wasn’t walking next to him and was lying on the track.

He said: “Christian felt the shock as he tried to help AJ. He phoned the emergency services at 3.15am. Our conclusion is that there doesn’t appear to be suspicious circumstances.”

Adam Pokorski, who attended the inquest, paid tribute to his brother, describing him as ‘good, generous and kind’.

He said AJ, who worked at Thursdays nightclub, had dreamed of opening a garage after working at Goodwood Motor Circuit.

“He liked football and was a fan of Barcelona,” he added. “He liked music, computer gadgets, cars and girls.”

Results from a post mortem confirmed Mr Pokorski died from electrocution. He was three times the drink drive limit.

Recording a conclusion of accidental death, Ms Schofield said: “I’m so very sorry this death occurred in these circumstances.

“I’m concerned that there is a night club so very close to a rail track which can be accessed by individuals who are intoxicated.

Ms Schofield said she is aware Thursdays has closed but said another licensed premises could move onto the site.

She added: “I will write to Network Rail and West Sussex County Council who are responsible and draw to their attention this risk to others and ask that they at least at the very minimum provide signs at the access point to make sure people are aware of the dangers ongoing on that line.”

Ms Schofield said Mr Pokorski might not have been aware that British Rail tracks have live lines.

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