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'Don't sack hero rail worker' says mum of boy he crashed into
8:30am Tuesday 10th September 2013 in Echo News
HERO rail worker Alan Chittock has been backed by the mum of a toddler he paralysed in a road accident 18 years ago.
The 50-year-old, who was suspended by c2c last week for allegedly breaching health and safety rules for pulling a 71-year-old disabled woman from the tracks, was behind the wheel of a car that struck James Beckwith, two, in 1995 when he ran out into the road in Southend.
Over the weekend James’ mum, Michelle Beckwith, 45, from Hullbridge, said: “We don’t hold a grudge.
“I read the story and thought I recognised the name.
“My view is that this guy tried to do the right thing and has done his best to save someone’s life.
“It’s outrageous what they’ve done to him.
“That’s all I really want to say as I don’t want to drag up the past.”
James, who sadly died aged 17 in 2009, was left paralysed from the neck down after the accident and was awarded £1.5million compensation by the High Court in 2001.
Mrs Beckwith’s support comes as Southend resident David Gane set up a petition also backing Mr Chittock’s efforts.
The online petition says Mr Chittock would have “acted on instinct” and calls for c2c to not sack him.
It says: “At the very least instead of sacking him, if you have to, give him a verbal warning and issue retraining for all staff about the dangers.
“This man isn’t a traitor, he is a hero. Why is he being treated like a criminal? Issue some common sense and decency when taking regulations into consideration.”
Mr Chittock is expected to learn this week what action will be taken against him for the alleged “safety breach”.
All staff are trained to alert the signaller, who is able to stop trains, if an object or person is spotted on the tracks.
They must not step on to the rails until they have permission from the signaller.
Police are still investigating whether the Benfleet woman, who was in a wheelchair, was deliberately pushed off the platform at Southend Central station.
Her wheelchair rolled and then toppled more than 4ft from the platform’s edge, just minutes before a train was due.
Mr Chittock is not part of the latest investigation, which involves reviewing CCTV footage at the time of the incident at 6.10pm on Wednesday, August 28.
Anyone with information can contact British Transport Police on 0800 405040, quoting the reference B7/LNA of 05/09/2013.
- Sign the petition by visiting www.change.org/petitions/national-express-c2c-drop-the-suspension-on-alan-chittock-for-saving-someone-s-life
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