A MAN may have fallen asleep on the railway line after a night out with friends, an inquest heard.
Bethan Jones said her estranged husband Mark, of Shotton, was happy when drunk and had a propensity for falling asleep.
The hearing was told Mr Jones had previously fallen asleep in his father’s garden and in bushes alongside the railway.
But how and why the 44-year-old labourer came to be on the main line on the night he died remained a mystery.
He was hit by a Llandudno–Crewe train late on the night of November 23, having spent the evening with friends watching a cage-fighting contest at Deeside Leisure Centre.
One of his friends Barry Davies told police that Mr Jones was “very drunk” but happy, and said he was going home instead of going on to Chester with the rest of the group.
Engine driver Rhys Geraint Lloyd said the train was travelling at about 75mph between Flint and Shotton when he spotted a man lying the tracks.
“I hit the emergency brakes but he made no attempt to move,” he said. “A collision was inevitable.”
Malcolm Dobson, coroner’s liaison officer with British Transport Police, told the inquest in Ruthin that the collision occurred about 300-400 yards away from the Maud Street pedestrian crossing but that was not on Mr Jones’ route between the Leisure Centre and his home in Chester Road West, Shotton.
An inspection of the location revealed no problems with the signage or security fencing.
Mrs Jones, who separated from her husband in 2011 because of his heavy drinking, told John Gittins, the coroner for North Wales East and Central, that she had heard from a friend of his that he may have been going to a party.
She said he had never hinted that he might harm himself.
A post-mortem examination found he had died of a severe head injury and he had 206 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, the equivalent of about 10 pints.
Recording a conclusion of accidental death, the coroner said: “It would appear that the gentleman had a propensity to fall asleep when he had been drinking, and it is more likely than not that he had fallen asleep on the railway.
“What is very clear,” he added, “is that he was a bloke that people liked. That is what comes across. He was a big character and was missed accordingly.”