No5’s Richard Moat acts for David Williams in inquest into level-crossing deaths

Barrister Richard Moat from No5 Chambers has acted for David Williams in an inquest into the death of Williams and Paul Hodge. Hodge was the driver of a car struck by a train on a level crossing in Great Coates in April 2013. He and his passenger Williams suffered fatal injuries and died.

The inquest heard that Hodge’s driving was impaired by the misuse of cannabis, the level of which would have similar effect to being two or three times over the drink-drive limit. A toxicology report found traces of cannabis in both men’s systems.

The inquest saw CCTV footage, which showed the car reach the level crossing 22 seconds after the lights warning of an approaching train began flashing. The car then moved onto the wrong side of the road to drive past the half-carrier, before stopping on the near-side track. Seconds later, the car was hit by a train that was travelling at approximately 60mph. Hodge was pronounced dead at the scene. Williams suffered multiple injuries and died later in hospital.

Coroner Paul Kelly recorded a narrative verdict, concluding that Hodge’s driving was impaired by the misuse of cannabis, which caused him to ignore both the barrier and the warning lights. He said there was no evidence to indicate the design or maintenance of the level crossing was a contributing factor in the accident.