Frozen to death by rail line

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Staff reporter

A POPULAR young man was found dead in the snow by a railway line, an inquest heard.

The body of Neil Ceiriog Roberts, 24, was discovered early on Saturday, December 18 last year, close to Wrexham General railway station.

An inquest at Wrexham yesterday heard Mr Roberts, of Heol-y-Plas, Cefn Mawr, had been out drinking in Wrexham the night before his body was found but medical evidence showed that excess alcohol was not the cause of his death, with no-one sure of the reason he was at the railway line.

On Friday, December 17, Mr Roberts was invited to join colleagues from the Caia Park Partnership for festive drinks in Wrexham .

David Stait, from the Partnership, gave written evidence recalling Mr Roberts and colleagues spending time in licensed premises.

Mr Roberts left about midnight, and called at the kebab and pizza shop on King Street, Wrexham, where staff thought he was drunk.

His mobile phone was found on King Street by Carl Whitney, who was making a delivery to the shop.

Evidence was read on behalf of Mr Roberts’ girlfriend Julie Shaw, who said she had made several unsuccessful attempts to contact Mr Roberts by phone that night and the following morning and it was eventually answered by Mr Whitney.

Asked during the inquest about Mr Roberts’ drinking habits, his mother Angela said her son did not drink heavily and always limited the amount he consumed.

His body was spotted by passengers on the Bidston to Wrexham 7.30am train on the Saturday, with snow covering the ground.

Commuter Katrina Anziani gave written evidence recalling the shock of seeing Mr Roberts’ body lying on his stomach facing away from the track as she looked out of the window.

She said: “I was shocked. I felt sick and dazed at what I’d seen.”

Dc Ann Joyner, of British Transport Police, said CCTV footage had shown a man identified as Mr Roberts falling from the end of a platform at the station early in the morning.

He did not return to the station, and was found about 200 yards away the next morning.

Dr Tony Burdge, said post-mortem examination reports had shown no signs of significant injuries that would have occurred if Mr Roberts had been struck by a train.

He said: “Essentially he was a healthy young adult male.”

Dr Burdge said the level of alcohol in Mr Roberts’ system did not correlate with the levels of drunkenness described by witnesses, and was merely one and a half times the legal driving limit.

He said Mr Roberts died from hypothermia and may have been alive for some time as he lay by the railway.

North East-Wales assistant deputy coroner Kirit Champaneria recorded a verdict of accidental death caused by hypothermia.

Mr Roberts had pursued a career as a chef before assessing his options, later beginning a woodwork course through the Caia Park Partnership.

His interests included cycling and remote controlled cars.

After the inquest, Mr Roberts’ parents John and Angela said: “It has been an extremely difficult few months for all of us.

“At the time he died there were people suggesting it was because he had a lot to drink and we have always said this would not have been the case.

“We have taken comfort from the verdict of accidental death today.

“He was a very well-liked young man who had a lot of friends.”

Mr Roberts left a large number of other close relatives, including brother Aaron and sister Rachel.

See full story in the Leader

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