Far reaching consequences of Heathfield man’s death


A HEATHFIELD man, described as ‘kind and gentle’ by neighbours, was struck by a train on the Lewes to Polegate main line early last Thursday morning. British Transport Police officers identified the man as Adrian Grzesik, 62.

They said: “At 8.03am on August 16, officers responded to a report of a person having been struck by a train between Polegate and Berwick.”

British Transport police went on: “Officers and paramedics from the South East Coast Ambulance Service attended but the man was pronounced dead at the scene.”

A post mortem on Sunday, August 19 showed that Mr Grzesik died as a result of multiple injuries. The inquest into his death has been opened at Eastbourne Coroner’s Court and adjourned to a date yet to be set. The death is being treated as non-suspicious and a report is being prepared for the coroner. The incident caused three hours of delays to passengers on the line but the track was cleared and handed back to Network Rail at 9am that morning.

Mr Grzesik lived in a semi-detached, half-timbered cottage in Sandy Cross, a narrow lane leading from Hailsham Road towards Heathfield Park. Few neighbours knew him but one told the Express he was ‘kind, gentle and always waved and said hello.’ Family members are also believed to live in the village.

The incident raised awareness, not only the trauma of those who are immediately involved in incidents like this, but the drivers of trains affected and their passengers.

A worker who did not wish to be named said: “Of course we think about what the man must have been going through beforehand and the impact on his family but people need to consider about how awful this is for drivers and train staff too”

A British Transport Police spokesman added: “It is always tragic whenever people take their own lives, and unfortunately, the railway is one place where some choose to do this. As sad as the circumstances surrounding the act usually are, actions of this kind can be very traumatic to train drivers, train crew, track-workers and sometimes when certain circumstances present themselves, to passengers as well.

“We work closely with the Samaritans on ways we can discourage people from attempting to take their own lives on the railway. Poster campaigns at our stations and training for staff to recognise when something isn’t quite right and how to approach someone who appears to be contemplating such things are part of this joint working. When someone takes their own life on the railway it isn’t just the trauma to railway staff that has a negative effect. In most cases hundreds of passengers are inconvenienced because trains are always delayed in the area, and  inevitably, the knock-on effect can cause serious disruption to thousands of passengers on other train services around the network.”