A HAZLEMERE man was fatally injured by a train after sitting on the edge of a platform with his legs hanging over the side, an inquest heard today.

Simon Farmer “died instantly” after being hit by a high-speed train passing through Taplow station on July 10 last year, jurors at the Amersham inquest were told.

The train driver, Michael Cowler, said there was only “a split second” between seeing 39-year-old Mr Farmer and hitting him.

He said Mr Farmer was sitting on the edge of Platform One facing away from the train as it approached Taplow.

Mr Cowler told the inquest: “As I rounded the corner I was travelling between 90 and 100mph on the approach to Taplow. I saw a male on the edge of the platform with his legs over the platform edge.

“I gave one blast on the horn but it was only a split second before I was on top of him.”

Mr Cowler, who was driving the 8.20pm high-speed service between Paddington and Great Malvern, said Mr Farmer appeared to be talking into a mobile phone in his left hand and was holding a cigarette in his right hand.

The driver added it was “very rare” for people to be on Platform One.

Jurors were told only high-speed services passed through Platforms One and Two at Taplow, with local stopping services using Platforms Three and Four.

Mr Farmer's sister-in-law, Joanne, told the inquest she had spoken and sent text messages to him several times throughout the day.

She said Mr Farmer sounded drunk when she spoke to him at around 5.15pm.

At first he told Mrs Farmer he was in London, but later said he was in Reading before changing his story again and saying he was on a bus to High Wycombe from Taplow.

Mrs Farmer said she offered to pick her brother-in-law up and take him to his father's home in Stockfield Close, Hazlemere – where he had been staying – but could not be certain where he was.

She said: “I got more sense out of him the more the night went on – he seemed to sober up.

“He was more drunk when I first spoke to him, but he was happy apart from one conversation where he said he had a monkey on his back he was trying to fight, referring to his alcoholism.”

In one conversation, Mr Farmer said he was going away, but did not say where.

He had been living in Cornwall prior to moving in with his father and Mrs Farmer said the family believed that was where he intended to go.

A statement from Mr Farmer's GP, Nisar Yaseen, said he had been prescribed diazepam and citalopram to help wean him off alcohol and to help him sleep. The statement said Mr Farmer told the doctor he had been drinking a bottle of vodka a day.

A toxicology examination of Mr Farmer's body was not possible after the collision so it was impossible to find out if any alcohol was in his bloodstream. His post-mortem concluded he had died of multiple injuries.

The seven male and three female jurors said Mr Farmer died of misadventure, after coroner Richard Hulett ruled out a possible verdict of suicide.

He told the jury: “This man may have been drunk but he's described as happy drunk, not morbid. There is no evidence of his intentions of doing anything of the sort [taking his own life].”