Teen killed on rail tracks: inquest

Joshua Dugdale volunteered at the Fraser Street Project towards the end of his life
Joshua Dugdale volunteered at the Fraser Street Project towards the end of his life
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The heartbroken parents of a much-loved young man who killed himself by stepping in front of a train have said he “was too good for this world.”

Scores of Burnley people were plunged into shock on July 17th this year when it emerged that happy and polite Joshua Dugdale (19) had died on railway tracks between Burnley and Colne.

It is clear Joshua was very well-loved. I have a picture of a popular young man who was kind and happy

Coroner

An inquest at Burnley Coroner’s Court this week heard Joshua killed himself following an argument on a camping trip the previous night.

Devastated parents Barry and Laura Dugdale told the inquest that what he did that day was completely out of character.

His tearful mum said: “Joshua was too good for this cruel world. He was always happy, kind, generous and polite. Joshua was very trusting and enjoyed helping people.”

The inquest heard Joshua had studied engineering at Burnley College where he met his best friend, Carmen Renwick, and the pair soon became inseparable.

They later worked together at Chapman Ventilation, Burnley, a job Joshua loved, including trips to London for work. However, Joshua’s contract finished in May, which left him very upset.

The night before he died, the friends had been camping with a number of others in Heasandford Woods.

At some point during the night, Joshua and Carmen argued, leading the group to come home early. It is believed Joshua also fell and banged his head at some point that night.

Carmen told the inquest she received a number of text messages from Joshua, apologising for his actions.

She had described him as being “like a brother” and said they did everything together.

Carmen added: “I was in absolute shock when I found out what had happened. It didn’t make any sense.”

Joshua also sent text messages to other friends that morning, thanking them and saying goodbye.

Mrs Dugdale said: “Joshua would have been upset and angry with himself about the argument. He wasn’t confrontational and didn’t like drama. He was very caring in his nature.”

Train driver Peter Stephenson said in a statement he had seen Joshua step out from a bush shortly after the train left Burnley Central Station. The driver of 13 years’ experience said he immediately hit the brakes, but it was too late. The train was travelling around 45mph at the time.

East Lancashire Coroner Mr Richard Taylor said: “It is clear Joshua was very well-loved.

“I have a picture of a popular young man who was kind and happy. He had behaved out of character on the camping trip and probably didn’t know how to react to it.

“He was extremely upset about events that involved those with whom he was very close, and had difficulty dealing with it.

“Sadly it is clear he meant to take his own life and that is my conclusion.”

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