Man, 33, dies after be­ing elec­tro­cuted by power lines

Fam­ily want an­swers over death of brother stopped by po­lice

Accrington Observer - - FRONT PAGE - JONATHON DIL­LON

THE fam­ily of an Oswaldtwistle man who was elec­tro­cuted by over­head power lines at Pre­ston rail­way sta­tion are de­mand­ing to know how he died.

An­thony Arm­strong, 33, suf­fered fa­tal in­juries after run­ning across the tracks and climb­ing onto a freight train parked in the de­pot.

Min­utes ear­lier he had been quizzed by of­fi­cers from the Bri­tish Trans­port po­lice on sus­pi­cion of steal­ing a bot­tle of wine from the sta­tion shop.

Po­lice said Mr Arm­strong was spo- ken to at around 9.30pm on Hal­loween night. They say he left the of­fi­cers and, in the fol­low­ing pe­riod, he came into con­tact with over­head power lines.

But his dev­as­tated sis­ter Carly says the fam­ily have unan­swered ques­tions and want to know the cir­cum­stances of his death. Carly, 39, said: “The po­lice said he was very po­lite and he just turned around and started run­ning across the tracks. We’re just not get­ting any an­swers.” An­thony had been out cel­e­brat­ing his niece Court­ney’s 22nd birth­day with his dad Lawrence.

THE fam­ily of an Oswaldtwistle man who was elec­tro­cuted by over­head power lines at Pre­ston train sta­tion are de­mand­ing an­swers as to how he died.

An­thony Arm­strong, 33, is be­lieved to suf­fered fa­tal in­juries after run­ning across the tracks and climb­ing onto a freight train parked in the de­pot.

Min­utes ear­lier he had been quizzed by of­fi­cers from the Bri­tish Trans­port po­lice (BTP) on sus­pi­cion of steal­ing a bot­tle of wine from the sta­tion shop.

Po­lice said Mr Arm­strong was spo­ken to at around 9.30pm on Hal­loween night. They say he left the of­fi­cers and, in the fol­low­ing pe­riod, he came into con­tact with over­head power lines.

But his dev­as­tated sis­ter Carly says the fam­ily have unan­swered ques­tions and want to know the cir­cum­stances of his death.

Carly, 39, said: “The po­lice said he was very po­lite and he just turned around and started run- ning across the tracks.

“We’re just not get­ting any an­swers.”

An­thony had been out cel­e­brat­ing his niece Court­ney’s 22nd birth­day with his dad Lawrence in pubs and bars in the city.

It is thought he left a bar at around 9pm fol­low­ing a row and headed to the sta­tion to catch a train home to Badge Brow, Oswaldtwistle.

Carly said: “I spoke to him at 6.30pm. He was ask­ing me to come and join them.

“He was very happy and jok­ing with me on the phone.

“He was on a tag and he wanted to get home. They had a bit of an ar­gu­ment in the pub as he wanted to get home.”

Carly said her dad went to Ac­cring­ton po­lice sta­tion the next day at 10am to find out if An­thony was in cus­tody but was told he wasn’t.

Of­fi­cers from the BTP vis­ited An­thony’s mum Bar­bara in Wood­nook at 1pm to break the news to her. Carly said: “Why did it take them 16 hours to tell us if they knew who he was?

“It was the day of my grandma’s fu­neral. I walked in and my mum was curled up in the ball.

“They told her there’s no easy way to tell you this, there’s been an ac­ci­dent and your son is dead.”

Pre­ston train sta­tion was evac­u­ated fol­low­ing the in­ci­dent, which is now be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by the In­de­pen­dent Po­lice Com­plaints Com­mis­sion.

To com­pound Carly’s mis­ery, she says flow­ers left at the sta­tion in An­thony’s mem­ory have been moved four times.

She said: “They’ve moved the flow­ers to where the week­end drunks walk.

“When I went to view his body, the po­lice brought the flow­ers to the mor­tu­ary.

“I wanted to put them where the freight train is, it’s nowhere near the pub­lic, the pub­lic can’t even get there but the ex­cuse was in case peo­ple de­cide to run across two train tracks to look at them.”

De­scrib­ing her brother as “lov­able”, Carly added: “He was a char­ac­ter. He was al­ways very po­lite once you got to know him. He was the best un­cle to Court­ney.”

A Bri­tish Trans­port Po­lice spokesman said: “We can con­firm that as a re­sult of our ini­tial as­sess­ment fol­low­ing the death of a 33-year-old man at Pre­ston sta­tion, Bri­tish Trans­port Po­lice has re­ferred it­self to the In­de­pen­dent Po­lice Com­plaints Com­mis­sion.

“Of­fi­cers from BTP were called to the sta­tion shortly be­fore 9.30pm to re­ports of a per­son shoplift­ing. They at­tended the sta­tion and spoke with a man.

“That man left the of­fi­cers and, in the fol­low­ing pe­riod, is be­lieved to have come into con­tact with the over­head lines above a freight train in the nearby de­pot. His death is cur- rently be­ing treated as un­ex­plained.”

An IPCC spokesper­son said: “We un­der­stand, at this time, that of­fi­cers were pur­su­ing the man on foot and he later came into con­tact with over­head lines and sadly died at the scene.

“The IPCC is as­sess­ing the in­ci­dent to de­ter­mine if an in­ves­ti­ga­tion is re­quired.”

An­thony Arm­strong pic­tured with his niece Court­ney

An­thony Arm­strong, of Oswaldtwistle, pic­tured with niece Court­ney on the night out in Pre­ston

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