News, Culture & Society

Railway signalman, 24, killed himself by throwing himself in front of train at level crossing 

A railway signalman who was plagued by gambling debt ended his life by stepping in front of a 90mph train at a level crossing.

The inquest in Eastbourne heard how Matthew Golbey, 24, from Peacehaven, East Sussex, had been struggling with financial issues before he died at the crossing in Firle, near Lewes.

The father-of-one, who died last September, had worked for the railway for six years.

His mother Louise Virgo said he had taken out loans to pay debts and use to gamble at the casino and online in the past, but ‘since then he seemed happy’.

Matthew Golbey, 24, from Peacehaven, had been struggling with financial issues before he died

In the weeks before his death she had become worried about his financial situation again, and ‘knew something was wrong’ when he returned home unexpectedly.

The next day she woke to find his bedroom empty. She received a text around 5.36am telling her he was going to take his own life.

The signalman was struck by a train at Ripe Level crossing between Polegate and Lewes railway stations.

Pathologist Dr David Wright said death would have been instantaneous after being hit by the 90mph train.

Sussex Police later found the signalman’s black Mercedes parked in a layby near the level crossing.

The line had to be closed, causing major disruption for commuters with no trains running between Lewes and Eastbourne that morning.

Replacement bus services had to be arranged.

East Sussex senior coroner Alan Craze said ‘There is no scope for any doubt whatsoever, and the conclusion will very sadly be he took his own life.

‘Having done this job for a long time I have a good idea of how devastating something like this would be for people close to him.

‘I would like to disclose my condolences to you.’

The father died at a level crossing in Firle, near Lewes

The father died at a level crossing in Firle, near Lewes

A crowdfunding page launched after the former Peacehaven Community School pupil’s death raised £630 to go towards his two-year-old son Mason.

A tribute on the Just Giving Page from Mr Golbey’s father, Mark, said ‘Mason’s daddy and my son Matthew Golbey was taken from us at the age of 24 and with Mason not even being two-years-old.

‘He will not remember what a brilliant relationship the pair of them had during the short time that they were together, they were inseparable.

‘Matthew had a great career ahead of him working for Network Rail as a signalman, who had built up a great circle of friends and work colleagues, who like the rest of us and his family couldn’t believe the tragic news.’

For confidential support in the UK, call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see for details.