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`Suicide' driver; Motorist who derailed express train is named.

Byline: ED JAMES

THE car driver who caused the Berkshire rail crash in an apparent suicide was named by police last night.

Thames Valley Police confirmed that 48-year-old Brian Drysdale, of Radstock Road, Reading, was behind the wheel of the car which drove on to the level crossing and derailed a First Great Western train near the village of Ufton Nervet.

The train driver who also lost his life in the crash was named as 54-year-old Stanley Martin, from Torquay.

It also emerged that a mother and daughter were among the other five who died in Saturday night's collision. They were named as Anajette Rossi, 38, and Louella Main, nine.

The other victims were named by police as Barry Strevens, 55, of Wells, Somerset; Emily Webster, 14, of Moretonhampstead, Devon, and Leslie Charles Matthews, 72, of Warminster, Wiltshire.

As the names were released, it emerged that police were examining a mobile phone found near the crash scene thought to belong to Mr Drysdale.

British Transport Police deputy chief constable Andy Trotter said yesterday that suicide was still being considered as a line of inquiry.

``But I want to emphasise that we haven't closed our minds to other explanations. '' The train drivers' union Aslef said Mr Martin was ``an extremely experienced and professional driver'' and was a longstanding member of the union.

The union's acting general secretary, Keith Norman, said that on-board data recording equipment made it clear that Mr Martin had done everything possible to avert the accident.

Meanwhile, there was no response at Mr Drysdale's former home in Reading last night.

A neighbour, who declined to give his name, told how he had met Mr Drysdale a number of times.

``He was certainly very strange. '' He continued: ``I met him a couple of times. It took him a long time to start saying hello to me in the street. He's a chef, I think. ''

A man later emerged from the house with a sports bag over his shoulder and ran through a small crowd of reporters, shoving people out of the way with his bag before getting into a car.

After visiting the crash scene yesterday, UK transport secretary Alistair Darling said: ``Clearly our first thoughts are with those who have lost family and friends and those who are seriously injured.

``Once we know what happened we will then need to learn the lessons. ''

CAPTION(S):

Anajette Rossi and her daughter Louella Main were among the victims of Saturday's train devastation, left
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 9, 2004
Words:413
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