Open verdict for death of talented teenage footballer

Tragic: Gareth String fellow died on June 2
Tragic: Gareth String fellow died on June 2
Share this article
Have your say

A talented footballer tragically died when he plunged more than 20ft onto a train track, an inquest heard yesterday.

Gareth Stringfellow, 18, had enjoyed a night with friends chatting and drinking alcohol before walking towards Chorley in the morning of June 2.

Coroner Simon Jones recorded an ‘open verdict’ as he summed up how the former Holy Cross Catholic School had died on Coppull Moor Lane in Coppull.

Inspector David Howell, of the British Transport Police said: “We looked up on top of the parapet and then onto the ledge of the bridge.

“I saw a herring bone pattern on the ledge which was from the dust the comes of the rail track.

“We looked at the shoes that Gareth was wearing at the time and they matched.”

Insp Howell discovered that there was one main impact area on the railway line despite his body being over 600m of the scene.

He said: “From my experience I would say that he climbed up onto the parapet and I would suggest the fall onto the track killed him.”

Insp Glen Lee of the British Transport Police discovered that the former Kendal Town player had been hit by the 6.24am train from Preston to London.

The coroner ruled out the possibility of suicide on evidence of friend Daniel Ashton recalled how he was the last person to see Gareth.

He said: “He was happy in a good mood when he left and I never thought anything like this would happen ever.

“We had been just talking about our lives and a long chat.”

Mark Pitts, Pathologist at Preston and Chorley Hospitals said: “I found that there were severe injuries to the deceased persons body.

“There was a strong smell of alcohol on the body but there were no sample available for analysis (such were the injuries).

“However in my experience the level of smell would have been at least 200mg per litre which is double the driving limit.”

Coroner Simon Jones heard that Gareth had been diagnosed with autism disorder Asperger’s Syndrome and was turning his life around.

Gareth was planning on going to train during pre-season at Kendal Town and had a job as a binman with Veoila.

Speaking after the inquest dad Jason, of Doris Street, Chorley, paid tribute to the youngster who was a trainee at Preston, Blackburn Rovers and Bolton.

He said: “He was such a lovely lad.

“He could have an argument in the morning and then be ringing his mum in the afternoon to ask for advice.

“Football meant everything to him and I can remember him getting up at 6am and wearing his kit ready for the game at 9am. He was one of the youngest players to play in the Unibond League at 16 when he moved to Kendal.

“Lee Ashcroft (his manager) told us it would only be a matter of time before he was going to be snapped up by a football league club again.”