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Family of Connor Marron say open inquest verdict has left them in ‘limbo’, as they recount moment they discovered son’s death

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Connor Marron, who was struck by a train

Connor Marron, who was struck by a train

PA

Connor Marron, who was struck by a train

The family of 19-year-old Ahoghill student Connor Marron have said an open inquest verdict into his death has left them in “limbo”.

Mr Marron was hit by a train in north London in the early hours of January 2.

The Ulster University student – who was in his second year of a human resources course at Jordanstown - was found “soaked from the waist down” and without shoes near Hornsey station according to police.

The teenager had been at the PDC World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace with a friend, Oisin Connolly, before he went missing.

Speaking about their son, parents Fergal Marron and Sharon Doherty described him as a “sociable” and “clever boy” who “was good at sport, enjoyed life and had a great social life”.

“He wanted to be his own boss. He had his own little online business selling clothes and just lived life to the full,” they told BBC’s Evening Extra programme.

An inquest at North London Coroner’s Court could not determine what happened between when Mr Marron left his friend and the collision about an hour later.

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No CCTV was recovered that could shed any light on the final hour of his life and the surrounding area was dark, the inquest heard.

Senior coroner Andrew Walker recorded an open verdict and confirmed he intended to issue a Prevention of Future Deaths report to Thames Water and Network Rail over concerns which may give rise to future accidents.

Mr Marron may have passed through the New River – a nearby waterway – and a gap in a railway fence, before trying to cross the tracks.

Recounting the moment they heard the news in the early hours of the morning back in Northern Ireland, mum Sharon said two police officers knocked at the door.

“We were awakened out of our sleep. We had the knock at the door, it was 4.10am. Initially we weren't too startled, I thought it was Connor back early.

“Then it was a persistent knock. Fergal went down the stairs and I shouted down to him: ‘Is that Connor’ he said: ‘No it’s not Connor’.

“He could see two police officers standing. As I made my way down to the stairs, all I could hear was an officer saying: ‘Are you Connor marrons daddy?’

“And Fergal just said: ‘Please don’t tell me he is dead.”

During the inquest it was found Mr Marron may have passed through the New River – a nearby waterway – and a gap in a railway fence, before trying to cross the tracks.

The inquest heard the trains run quiet and train CCTV shows the tracks were dark while a witness described the river next to the railway as “pitch black”.

The coroner considered there should be sufficient lighting and signage to warn pedestrians of the body of water and said adequate signage should also be provided for the railway fence.

On the open verdict reached in the inquest, Fergal Marron said while it leaves the family in “limbo” it is “actually the verdict we wanted”.

“We didn’t want this to be treated as an accident and we didn’t want it to go down as misadventure. We were as happy yesterday evening as we were ever going to be because of an open verdict,” he added.

“We know Conor would have wanted us to go out and try and get information we have done our very best.”

In a statement from the British Transport Police (BTP) provided to BBC NI, they said: “Every death on the railway is a tragedy and our thoughts remain with the Marron family as the inquest into their son's untimely death has concluded.

“As is the case with any fatality the full circumstances of the incident were subject to a detailed assessment by officers who were satisfied there were no suspicious circumstances.

“To date there is still no evidence Mr Marron was the victim of a crime or that there were any suspicious circumstances to his death.”

BTP said during the hearing there was no indication of how Mr Marron came to enter the tracks.


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