Musician died after being struck by a train in tragic accident, inquest hears – Winsford Guardian
A MUSICIAN died in a tragic accident after being struck by a train as he walked home drunk and distressed along a railway track, an inquest has heard.
Hours earlier, drummer Asa Simpson, 34, had been playing with the band Exowaves at a gig at De Bees in Winsford.
His grieving family fear something something may have happened before the fatal crash as he was planning to take his son on holiday and book flights for his friend’s stag night.
In a frantic flurry of phone calls at 4.30am on Saturday, October 31, last year, he told his friend Brydee Roberts that he was lost and she said he sounded distressed and disorientated.
Miss Roberts told an inquest in Crewe yesterday: “He said he was walking home along the railway line and didn’t know where he was. I told him to get off the track, to find a road, a sign or a house and get a taxi.
“He sounded relieved to be on the phone to someone. I kept saying: ‘You have to get off the tracks’. I was very concerned. I was trying to figure out where he was.”
He said blood was coming from his head and that some people ‘had jumped out and hit’ him. ‘You’re going to look after me,’ he asked her.
Fighting back tears, Miss Roberts said: “He said he could see headlights and thought it was a car. He said he would call me back in a minute. I kept calling and texting him but he didn’t reply.”
Asa’s body was found on a railway line between Winsford and Crewe near Middlewich Road.
Freight train driver Paul Ghorst said he had been travelling at up to 70mph in poor visibility when he saw ‘something appear in his peripheral vision’ and he realised he ‘had hit something’ at around 5.10am.
He stopped half a mile further down the line and alerted a signaller.
Alan Hudnott, a manager on a Virgin passenger train travelling on the same stretch from towards Crewe, alerted police after spotting a man’s body at around 8am.
Police searched the area and discovered the body. Asa, from Hickman Street in Newcastle-under-Lyme, was identified after a bank card was found in a wallet inside his pocket.
Consultant pathologist Dr Peter Butterworth carried out a post mortem examination and said the cause of death was multiple injuries.
Toxicology tests showed that Asa was two and half times over the legal limit of alcohol for driving.
Door staff from De Bees bar told the inquest they had seen the musician drinking at the club after the band had left.
Door supervisor Mercedes Lyons said: “He was having a good time. He was with a woman and they were drinking together, having a laugh.”
At around 3am she saw a woman arguing with Mr Simpson outside the bar, beside two young lads.
Miss Lyons said: “A scuffle broke out between a man and Asa and they both ended up on the floor. I told them to stop which they did. Asa left one way and the young people went home in the opposite direction.”
Detective Inspector Steven May, investigating officer from British Transport Police, said a CCTV camera outside the club showed Asa ‘laughing, joking and very jovial’.
“There was a very friendly atmosphere. He does appear to be buzzing.
“At one stage, a woman does appear to be quite violent and launched an aim at him. There was an altercation, pushing and shoving. Asa walked off by himself.”
As Winsford had no CCTV cameras, he said it had not been possible to trace the route Asa had taken after leaving the club.
However, data on his mobile phone showed that he had walked to Winsford railway station and then more than a mile along the train track to where his body was found.
DI May concluded there were no suspicious circumstance, saying it was ‘highly unlikely’ Asa had been chased along the track.
DI May said: “I’m satisfied there was no third party involvement.”
GP Dr Richard Orr said Asa had been prescribed anti depressants but asked for his medication to be decreased in February, 2018.
Dr Mark Kenwright, from North Staffordshire wellbeing service, said Asa had received counselling for anxiety and depression in 2017 but ended his treatment early after making ‘significant improvement’.
Asa’s mum Cheryl last saw him two days before the gig and said he had turned his life around. She said: “He had everything to live for. He was so happy for the first time in a long time. He loved his little boy and was planning to go away with him.
“He had rejoined the band and was looking forward to the concert.
“His brother Callum was with him until 12pm. He said he was buzzing, so happy with the gig.”
Former partner Jennifer Glover, who had a child with Asa, said he was constantly in touch with his son and was planning to take him on holiday in the summer.
He had made plans to book flights for a stag night after his friend asked him to be his best man.
Mrs Glover said: “When we went into his flat the day after he died, there were Easter eggs waiting for his son. There was also a coffee cup on the side. When we lived together and he had a gig he always used to leave his coffee beans and a spoon ready to wind down afterwards.
“He had lots of things planned. He was hoping to find a house with a garden where he could play with his son. He asked my permission to take his son abroad in the summer. He was really happy.”
Claire Welch, area coroner for Cheshire, ruled out suicide after hearing ‘overwhelming evidence’ from his family about his positive state of mind and all the plans he had made.
The coroner said: “This was just a tragic accident. In his last phone call he reported seeing car headlights. Unfortunately, my view is that these lights were the headlights of a train.”
She concluded that Mr Simpson’s death was accidental.
Asa’s mum Cheryl said: “I’m still left not knowing what happened to my son.”