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Exclusive - Was woman in wheelchair pushed on to train line?
POLICE are investigating the possibility an elderly woman in a wheelchair was deliberately pushed on to a railway line at Southend, minutes before a train was due along.
The British Transport Police are appealing for information about the incident, in which the 71-year-old Benfleet woman fell about 4ft on to the tracks at Southend Central station.
The appeal came after the Echo exclusively revealed yesterday a station worker was suspended from work after the incident “for breaching safety”. Today he was named as Alan Chittock, 50.
Police have made it clear the worker is not part of their latest investigation into the woman’s fall.
Officers are now looking at the possibility she may have been nudged by a passing passenger, after new information has come to light.
Investigators will review CCTV footage and are now asking anyone who was on the station at 6.10pm on Wednesday, August 28, to come forward.
Det Con David Bishop, who is looking into the incident, said: “The woman was at the station with a friend, waiting for a train.
“Suddenly her wheelchair began to roll off the platform and on to the tracks.
“The woman was removed from the tracks and taken to Southend Hospital, where she currently remains, with a fractured hip.”
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact British Transport Police on 0800 405040, quoting B7/LNA of 05/09/2013.
RMT boss: It’s a travesty
RAIL union leader Bob Crow has described the suspension of the c2c worker who rescued a wheelchair-bound woman from the railway line at Southend Central station as “a travesty”.
The station worker hauled the woman to safety with the help of three passengers who were waiting on the platform at the time.
As a result of his action, the man has been suspended and may lose his job, apparently for breaches of safety rules.
Mr Crow, general secretary of the RMT union, said the man should be put back to work as soon as possible. He added: “Clearly, this is a travesty of justice.
“A member of staff has ended up threatened with disciplinary action for helping avoid a potential tragedy at Southend. The RMT is calling on the company to recognise the strength of feeling this case has generated among staff and the public.
“RMT is representing our member and will do all we can to ensure he is returned to work as soon as possible with no stain on his record and a recognition that station-based rail staff play a crucial role in ensuring public safety.”
c2c says it has “strict rules”
about safety and it has suspended the man while investigations into the incident continue.
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