‘Accident’ killed football fan hit by tube as brother tried to drag him clear

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THE death of a Leeds-born man fatally struck by a London Underground train as he tried to rescue his brother from the track was an accident, a coroner court has ruled.

Nicholas Mann, 35, was travelling back just after midnight from a heavy metal gig with his brother Robert, 32, in March, when he was hit by a southbound Northern Line train and suffered a “massive head injury” at Old Street Station.

A jury at St Pancras Coroners Court recorded that the death was an accident after direction from Coroner Mary Hassell.

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Mr Mann, who lived with his wife Jennifer Kavanagh in Wimbledon, received first aid from off-duty paramedics and a doctor before being rushed to Royal London Hospital in the early hours of March 29.

He was stuck at around 12.20am.

Train driver Paul Johnson told the court: “I went round the corner approaching the platform and I saw a male stumbling and fall onto the track just in front of me. I Immediately pushed the emergency brake.”

“When he fell another gentleman was trying to pull him out. The train was braking when it hit both of them.”

Referring to Robert Mann on the tracks he said: “The gentleman had his back to me standing. The other gentleman was trying to pull him out. It looked definitely like an accident.”

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Mr Johnson, a train driver for 21 years, said the train was travelling at “around 30mph” when it approached the platform.

Mr Mann had spent the Saturday with his brother watching Shrewsbury Town beat Portsmouth away from home before going to a gig in London. His mother, Pauline Mann, who along with the rest of Mr Mann’s family decided not to attend the inquest, called it a “perfect day”.

In a written statement issued to the court she said: “Nick and his brother had been close as children and that relationship followed into adulthood - They texted each other many times a day and the last day of Nick’s life they spent together. I will always miss my darling son.

“It was the perfect day. It involved football, a gig, and chips and beer.”

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A short CCTV video played in court showed Mr Mann and his brother walk onto the platform. The pair are walking close to the edge of the track before Mr Mann’s brother raises his arms in the air before stumbling and falling in front of the oncoming train. Mr Mann is seen lying on the platform trying to help his brother up as the train hits them.

Some of the jurors gasped and appeared shaken as the video showed Mr Mann being struck.

Matthew Pabon, who witnessed the train hitting Mr Mann and his brother, said it all happened “really fast”.

He said: “They were walking really close to the edge of the platform. They were quite cheerful. They were jumping and celebrating, very cheerful.”

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He added: “One of them slipped, the other person was trying to pull him out. It was really really fast. The train was approaching really really fast. I turned around and heard a bang.”

Peter Darling, a HM Inspector for Office of Rail and Road investigations, told the court his investigations had found “no breach of health and safety” and called the death a “tragic accident”.

He added that from his investigations it appeared Mr Mann’s brother “inadvertently drew him down” as he fell onto the track.

Mr Mann, a senior press officer and heavy metal enthusiast, married wife Jennifer in 2011. The couple had tickets to travel to Greece and Japan after previous extensive travelling trips to Iceland.

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Opting to not appear in court, Ms Kavanagh said in a statement to court that Mr Mann was “a wonderful husband and loyal friend”.

She added: “He was selfless, kind, warm and loving and he put other people first. We had a wonderful decade together.”

Ms Kavanagh added: “It’s clear by the tributes from Shrewsbury Town and the fans after his death how much he meant to the club.”

It is believed Mr Mann’s brother Robert is still making his recovery following the incident.

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Summing up, Coroner Mary Hassell recorded the death as “accidental”.

She thanked Mr Mann and his family for the multi-organ donation made following his death.

The coroner said: “After Nick’s death his family, incredible kindly, allowed his organs to be donated for others to use.

“This an incredibly kind gesture that is at the worst possible time in their lives for the person’s family at their darkest hour. On behalf of those people I say thank you to Nick’s family.”