THE family of a World War Two veteran soldier who died after plunging from a disused railway embankment while out walking in Crossgates have backed a coroner’s call for safety measures to be put in place.
An inquest at Wakefield heard 87-year-old grandfather Fred Hudson, who lost an eye in the war, plunged around 25ft to his death from the Highways Agency owned structure in Crossgates in the early hours of January 28 last year.
Mr Hudson, who had been living with his son David and family in Crossgates, died from multiple injuries.
The inquest heard the British Railways Board had raised safety issues at the site with the Highways Agency on a number of occasions since July 2010.
Deputy Coroner Melanie Williamson said she would send a report to the Highways Agency, adding: “Proper preventative measures should be taken to prevent members of the public gaining access to that structure.”
Mr Hudson’s son David, 53, said after the inquest hearing that children from nearby John Smeaton Academy regularly play at the site.
Mr Hudson said just one pillar of the old railway bridge is left, which leads to a sheer drop of around 25ft to Barwick Road.
He added: “As you are walking along the top of the embankment you can’t see the drop. It looks as though you are just going to carry on walking along. Children are playing on there all the time on their way to and from school.
“I would like to see it landscaped like it is on the opposite side so it is a graded slope and not a sheer drop. They should definitely put fencing up there as a temporary measure until they have got time to do the work to make it properly safe.
“It wants sorting out before it happens again.”
A Highways England spokesperson said: “Our sympathies are with the family of Mr Hudson. A representative from Highways England was not asked to be present at the inquest.
“It would be inappropriate for us to provide any comment at this time but we will of course respond to the coroner if we receive any formal correspondence regarding the inquest.”