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Man fell under train trying to smoke a cigarette
A MAN who had been 'drowning his sorrows' on the anniversary of his wife's death died after falling from a railway carriage and being dragged along the line, an inquest heard.
Mervyn Allan opened the emergency exit of a London Underground carriage to smoke a cigarette when he slipped and fell under the wheels.
The retired taxi driver was then dragged by the train for up to a mile between Chorleywood and Chalfont and Latimer stations.
The accident happened shortly after 1am on Saturday June 25 on the last Metropolitan Line service back to Chesham of the day - but his family admitted they did not know why he got on the train.
He was attempting to make his way back to his home address in Buckingham Road, Aylesbury, and may have been trying to get to Amersham in order to change for a train to his home town.
His sister Christine Yearley said: "Why he got on that train I don't know. He must have got on the wrong train."
The inquest heard Mr Allan's blood-alcohol level was around three times above the legal drink-drive limit. Traces of cannabis were also found.
Mrs Yearley said he had been drinking to excess and taking cannabis because it was the six years to the day since his wife, Marion, died.
She told the inquest: "He was destroyed. Marion was his world. When she passed away, he went to pieces. He was drowning his sorrows [the night he died]."
Fellow passenger Matthew Edmonds, who had been at work in central London, told the High Wycombe inquest that 51-year-old Mr Allan had smoked a cigarette in the carriage with another man who had got on the train at Harrow and alighted at Moor Park.
Then, shortly after the train left Chorleywood, Mr Allan walked to the end of the carriage and opened the door to have another cigarette, but lost his footing on the wet step.
Mr Edmonds said: "It wasn't deliberate, he fell sideways under the train. I couldn't believe what had happened."
A passenger in the next carriage to the one Mr Allan was travelling in pulled the emergency cord and the train stopped at the next station, Chalfont and Latimer, in accordance with London Underground regulations.
His body had been dragged so far along the line, it was visible from the platform at Chalfont and Latimer.
He suffered massive head injuries and several broken bones to the right hand side of his body.
Jurors were told Metropolitan Line trains travel at higher speeds than at any other point on the Underground network because of the distances they have to cover. Driver Paul Goldstone estimated he was travelling at 45mph when the emergency cord was pulled.
The five female and four male jurors returned a verdict of death by misadventure.