Phone text message identifies victim

The Inquests
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The Independent Online

The inquests into the four men killed in the Hatfield rail crash opened yesterday, with the disclosue that one of thevictims had been identified using a text message found on his mobile phone.

The inquests into the four men killed in the Hatfield rail crash opened yesterday, with the disclosue that one of thevictims had been identified using a text message found on his mobile phone.

Alan Lawson, the coroner, was told that a police officer had named the body as that of Robert Alcorn, a pilot aged 37, when he found a message on a mobile phone signed "Rob" and used a description from his family. Mr Alcorn, a New Zealander who lived in Bayswater, west London, had started work 11 days ago on his "dream job" as a pilot for the Formula One driver Mika Hakkinen, the inquest was told. Mr Alcorn and his employer, Steve Arthur, 46, of Pease Pottage, West Sussex, had died from multiple injuries while travelling to Leeds to pick up passengers for a flight.

Emergency workers trying to identify the victims of Tuesday's derailment had used descriptions given to a casualty hotline by relatives of the missing passengers.

Leslie Gray, 43, a solicitor from Tuxford in Nottinghamshire, who was identified from a key fob carrying his home address, died from severe head injuries, the hearing in Hertford was told.

The fourth victim, Peter Monkhouse, 50, a marketing executive from Headingley, Leeds, had died from "crush injuries to his chest".

Mr Lawson, the coroner for Hertford, adjourned the hearing until 21 November, when he will decide on a date for a full inquest, which is likely to be delayed until the outcome of the crash inquiries.

Two injured passengers, Gary Fellowes, 41, and a woman from Harrogate, Yorkshire, 66, were still in the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Welwyn Garden City yesterday, but said to be comfortable.

Mr Fellowes, who was caught in the bombing of the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho last year, has had surgery to insert a pin in a broken leg. The woman has a spinal injury.

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