Rail Crash Driver Dies in River

Scene of the Purley train crash

Robert Morgan’s train rolled down an embankment into gardens below

A train driver who had his manslaughter convictions overturned following a rail crash in which five people were killed has died in a river accident.

Robert Morgan, of Ferring, West Sussex, drowned on Saturday while sailing on the River Medina on the Isle of Wight.

In 1989, his London-bound train collided with another service outside Purley station.

He admitted two counts of manslaughter but later appealed against his convictions.

An inquest into Mr Morgan’s death was opened and adjourned at the coroner’s office in Newport, Isle of Wight, on Tuesday.

A spokesman said: “We are aware that he had a boat in the vicinity. By the time people got to him to help, he was already pronounced dead.

“The case is still pending further inquiries and at this moment we are unaware of how he got into the water.”

He confirmed the cause of death was drowning.

Red light

More than 80 people were injured when the Littlehampton to London Victoria train he was driving went through a red light and collided at 60mph with a Horsham to Victoria service on 4 March 1989.

Mr Morgan, 66, was jailed in September 1990 for 18 months, 12 of which were a suspended sentence, but the term was later cut to four months on appeal.

In 2007, at the Court of Appeal he had his convictions quashed on the basis they were unsafe in the light of fresh evidence relating to the signal at the centre of the tragedy.

Mr Morgan’s former work colleague, Tony Squires, who was a guard on the train, said: “It’s a shame he died so soon after having his convictions quashed.

“He should never have been charged in the first place, we all knew that. I think the case affected him deeply.”

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~ by Simon on March 26, 2009.

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