Talented footballer, 19, died on railway line

A former Shrewsbury Town youth player took his own life by standing in front of a fast-moving train, an inquest has ruled.

A former Shrewsbury Town youth player took his own life by standing in front of a fast-moving train, an inquest has ruled.

Teenager Owen Knight was hit by a train travelling at about 45mph at Weston Rhyn, near Oswestry. The inquest was held in Wem.

It ruled that the 19-year-old had killed himself deliberately by wal- king on to the tracks in front of a train between Chirk and Gobowen on December 4 last year.

After the verdict, family members paid an emotional tribute to the sports and music-loving teenager, who was a chef at the Poachers Pocket in Gledrid, near Chirk, and had attended Ifton Heath Primary and Rhyn Park Secondary School.

Deputy coroner Mr Andrew Barclay said CCTV footage had been examined during an investigation by Malcolm Dobson, from the British Transport Police, who also interviewed train driver Stephen Proctor.

The inquest heard letters from Owen to his father Andrew Knight, mother Hayley Reeves and girlfriend Natalie Campbell-Davies were recovered from a car parked near the line.

Mr Barclay said Owen’s girlfriend had said he had been affected by the suicide of his cousin Brendan Owen in 2008, and their relationship was under pressure because of her university studies. But he said the precise reasons for his actions were not clear.

Mr Barclay added: “It seems very clear from Mr Proctor’s account and the CCTV that what Owen did that Sunday afternoon was a deliberate act.”

Owen’s mother said her son had been a music-lover, regularly attending festivals and gigs. He was also a keen sportsman, playing in midfield for Shrewsbury Town when he was younger, as well as being an all-rounder for Chirk Cricket Club.

Owen’s grandmother, Ceri Reeves, added: “It is just such a shame. We had him for 19 wonderful years and we are grateful for that.”

Martin James, community development manager at Shrewsbury Town FC, said: “Owen was obviously a lad who had potential as a footballer and enjoyed playing the game. Our thoughts are with his family.”