Parents of a university student who was hit by a train after ending up on train tracks have lamented the ‘many unanswered questions’ about his death after an inquest returned an open verdict.
Connor Marron, 19, was found “soaked from the waist down” and without shoes near Hornsey station in north London in the early hours of January 2, police said.
Mr Marron, from Ahoghill, County Antrim, had taken part in the PDC World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace with friend Oisin Connolly before disappearing.
An inquest at North London Coroner’s Court could not determine what happened between the time Mr Marron left his friend and the collision around an hour later.
No CCTV was recovered that could shed light on the last hour of his life and the surrounding area was dark, the inquest found.
Chief Coroner Andrew Walker has recorded an open verdict and confirmed that he intends to publish a report on preventing future deaths at Thames Water and Network Rail over concerns that could lead to future accidents.
Mr Marron may have crossed the New River – a nearby waterway – and a gap in a railway fence, before trying to cross the tracks.
The inquest heard the trains passing quietly and CCTV of the trains shows the tracks were dark while a witness described the river next to the tracks as ‘black’.
The coroner felt that there should be sufficient lighting and signage to warn pedestrians of the body of water and said adequate signage should also be provided for the rail line fence.
Mr Marron’s parents, Fergal Marron and Sharon Doherty, said following the verdict they were ‘sentenced to a life without knowing what had happened to our beloved son’.
They said on behalf of the family: “We are relieved that the painful investigation process has been completed. However, many questions remain unanswered as to what happened to Connor before he stepped onto the tracks.
“If the British Transport Police had properly investigated Connor’s death, we would have these answers. Instead, we are doomed to a life of not knowing what happened to our beloved son.
Tara Mulcair of Birnberg Peirce Solicitors, representing the family, said: ‘Connor’s family is extremely grateful to the Chief Coroner for his careful review of Connor’s inquest.
“Network Rail and Thames Water must now take urgent action to protect the public and prevent a future tragedy like this.”
British Transport Police (BTP) told the hearing that there was no indication of how Mr Marron came to the tracks.
The inquest heard that on leaving Alexandra Palace the previous evening, Mr Marron discovered his phone was lost and left his friend to find it.
He was reported missing hours later but had been hit by an empty 48mph freight train just north of the station, the inquest heard.
It was Mr Marron’s first visit to the capital and he had been drinking with his friend before and during the New Year’s Day quarter-final, it was said.
He had no money on him at the time of the incident, according to a witness statement from Mr Connolly.
Tributes were paid to the teenager at the start of the investigation, including from his family, who said he was ‘passionate about sport’ and played for his local Gaelic football team, as well than national snooker competitions.
He had attended high school and was a second-year human resources student at Ulster University.
Friends remembered Mr Marron as “happy, outgoing with a wonderful sense of humour”.