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Police say wheelchair woman's fall on to railway line was accident
A POLICE investigation into whether a woman in a wheelchair was pushed onto the tracks in Southend has concluded it was an accident.
British Transport Police launched the investigation after railway worker Alan Chittock, 50, was suspended for breaching health and safety guidelines when he pulled the 71-year-old up off the tracks at Southend Central station.
His supension caused national outrage and a petition was set up to get him reinstated.
The BTP carried out a thorough investigation, involving officers taking part in exercises simulating the incident took place, after allegations the woman had been pushed came to light.
Officers have now concluded no criminal activity took place.
A BTP spokesman said: “I’d like to thank those who came forward and provided officers with vital information into the incident at Southend Central station.
“After an in-depth look into all possible avenues of investigation, we believe there are no suspicious circumstances and the incident has been deemed an accident.”
Mr Chittock, who lives in Shoebury, was handed a warning from employers c2c after he and three passengers jumped onto to the track to rescue the woman, from Benfleet, who fell about 4ft on to the tracks just minutes before a train was due to arrive on August 28.
He had been getting the wheelchair ramp when the woman fell.
The nearest train, the 6.15pm service to Fenchurch Street, was a quarter of a mile away and already slowing for the station. The driver saw people on the track ahead, but as he was already braking, he did not need to use the emergency brake.
Bosses at c2c say he did not contact the signaller to ensure all trains were stopped, using the direct telephone on the platform, but instead radioed the ticket office for assistance.
Mr Chittock was reinstated on September 10 after receiving a warning.
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