Graffiti artists died in accident after being hit by train, inquest rules – South Wales Argus
The families of three graffiti artists have warned of the “dangerous risks” of the art form after a coroner ruled the men were struck and killed when they hid from an oncoming train.
Alberto Fresneda Carrasco, 19, and 23-year-olds Jack Gilbert and Harrison Scott-Hood were hit in the early hours of June 18 on elevated tracks in Brixton, south London.
Senior coroner Andrew Harris found at Southwark Coroner’s Court that the trio, who all lived in London, died as a result of an accident when they were struck by the oncoming train they had attempted to hide from.
Afterwards, their families issued a joint statement warning of the dangerous associated with tagging.
The men all had “promising futures ahead of them and a passion for art, particularly tagging”, they said.
But they “tragically lost their lives because of the dangerous risks this art form brings”, the families said.
“In a time full of needless violence, if our sons were guilty of anything, it was their love for painting,” they said.
“We can only express to young people trying to make their mark to please be safe.
“Keep your creativity alive – but don’t risk your lives.”
Recording the artists’ deaths as an accident, Mr Harris said they scaled a fence to access the track near Loughborough Junction station at about 12.25am.
“They were walking along a track which is subject to extensive graffiti,” he said.
“Unknown to then they were facing an oncoming train.
“They hid by a wall but were struck by a train.”
Detective Sergeant Simon Rees, who led the investigation, noted it was “completely pitch black” on the largely moonless night but the men would have seen the train’s lights coming towards them.
“My view is it’s impossible to know what rail it was on and I believe their first instinct was to conceal themselves because they wanted to go on to create artwork,” he told the court.
“It is likely in terms of where they were they dropped down behind a wall so they are not seen.
“Unfortunately they had already put themselves in harm’s way.”
He said they are believed to have scaled a six-foot fence to trespass on the track between Denmark Hill and Brixton.
The driver said his shift was “uneventful” and did not realise there was an impact.
Mr Fresneda, a New York City-born student who lived in Hampstead, north London, had written up a list of his aspirations shortly before he died.
In a statement read to court, his mother Isabel Carrasco said: “He wrote a to-do list just a few hours before the accident and we just wish he could’ve fulfilled his dreams.”
In a statement read in court, Maxine Gilbert said her events inspector son, from Enfield, was a “gorgeous, bright, cheeky, inquisitive boy who brought everyone joy”.
She said he had been supporting his sister and two nieces after the death of his brother-in-law in January that year.
“Painting grounded him and in those last few months, in our family’s darkest days, it was his release, his therapy,” she added.
In a statement, Susie Hood said her son, who lived in Muswell Hill, north London, was a “creative, free-spirited young man” and decried the “stigma” surrounding the “amazing art form”.
All three died from multiple injuries as a result of being struck by a train, post-mortem examinations found.