Gay man in train crash death “not suicidal”

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An inquest into a fatal collision heard how a closeted gay man killed when his car hit a passenger train was “tormented” by his sexuality, but not suicidal.

Bryan Drysdale, a 48 year old year chef, was driving a Mazda which hit the Paddington to Plymouth train at 100mph near Ufton Nervet in November 2004.

It resulted in seven deaths and 138 injuries, 18 seriously, when the impact turned the carriages of the train and made it slide down an embankment.

Slough Coroners Court heard evidence in which Mr Drysdale had kept his sexuality hidden since the age of 13, keeping the secret from his brother, family and close friends.

His parents were the only people he confided to.

He was also described as a heavy drinker who used recreational drugs and had financial problems.

Andi Conway-Horbury, who said he knew Mr Drysdale from 1978 and had a relationship with him for four years, said in a statement:

“He said he couldn’t come to terms with his sexuality, and was in his view, tormented by it.”

The Telegraph reported that Drysdale’s brother Ronald suspected that he was homosexual, but never got him to confide in him.

“I would have liked Brian to have discussed that he was gay and I gave him opportunities to talk to me but he never did,” he told the coroner’s court, according to the paper.

It also reported that Lee Hamerton, who was a close friend, saying in a statement: “I always suspected that he was gay and I always thought that Brian’s biggest problem and the reason for him being quite reserved and unhappy was because he would not come out.”

He did add: “If Brian did deliberately end his life, I really do not know why. He was never the sort of person to hurt anyone.”

Friends and family said that none of them thought that Drysdale was in a suicidal mood and some placed suspicion on his car as he had a history of purchasing vehicles in poor condition.

His brother claimed that the door of the Mazda could get stuck and was difficult to open.

The incident caused all eight carriages of the train to derail, and the train driver, as well as five passengers including two children, were all killed in the crash.