‘Amazing’ Nailsea man died after being hit by train, inquest told

PUBLISHED: 17:19 12 July 2017 | UPDATED: 10:39 13 July 2017

Max McGhee – 'a kind, compassionate, funny and intelligent man'.

Max McGhee – 'a kind, compassionate, funny and intelligent man'.


The family of a Nailsea man who was killed jumping in front of a train say the ‘world is less bright without him’.

Max McGhee, aged 23, died after he was struck by a train at Nailsea & Backwell Railway Station in March.

However, coroner Peter Harrowing at an inquest into Max’s death today (Wednesday) ruled it was impossible ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’ to know whether he intended to kill himself, despite the 23-year-old’s history of mental health problems and suicidal thoughts.

Parents John and Dawn McGhee have set up a charitable foundation in Max’s memory and said: “Our amazing son Max was a kind, compassionate, funny and intelligent man who we miss deeply.

“He showed great strength and determination throughout his life and we were lucky to love him for 23 years.

“As one of his friends recently said, ‘perhaps now is an appropriate time to reflect on how we approach mental wellbeing to protect the lives of brilliant people like Max. The world is less bright without him’.”

Max, of Nailsea Park, had been diagnosed with autism and the inquest at Avon Coroner’s Court, in Flax Bourton, was told it had led to some social difficulties in his life.

The former Backwell School pupil went to university in Edinburgh, but following a deterioration in his mental wellbeing, he threatened to kill himself and he had to be sectioned in April 2016.

He received treatment from Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust in Weston-super-Mare and over a number of months his health changed for the better.

Such was the improvement, professionals advised Max to stop taking his medication in January.

The inquest was told that had no obvious negative impact on Max’s improving health – in fact he had been discussing starting a mathematics-based course at a new university and had been working at a charity shop in his spare time.

However, in March his health began to decline slightly, with him reporting bouts of paranoia.

On the morning of March 28, CCTV showed Max get off a train at Nailsea & Backwell which had come from the direction of Yatton – his family do not know where he had been as he was at home in Nailsea when they went to work.

After spending some minutes on the platform, shortly before 11.15am, he jumped in front of a train travelling between Plymouth and Aberdeen.

Dr Harrowing concluded: “I have heard evidence that he was standing on the platform and appeared to deliberately jump, or step, in the front of a fast-moving train.

“He died instantly – the medical cause of death is multi-trauma.”

Dr Harrowing said while he understood Max had expressed ‘suicidal ideation’ in the past, the former student’s wellbeing and feelings had generally improved significantly in the run up to his death to the extent he was talking positively about the future and his education.

He added: “I’m not satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt that Max’s death was as a result of suicide.”

His parents are determined to use Max’s life to help others in future.

They said: “Max had atypical autism which manifested itself through a communication disorder.

“His struggle with communication in everyday life led to a stress overload and ultimately psychosis.

“His name and legacy will live on in the Max McGhee Memorial Fund which will raise funds to promote early diagnosis of psychosis and autism spectrum disorders.”

His brother Jack created an online fundraising page in Max’s memory, and has raised more than £2,000.

* The Samaritans runs a free helpline for anyone requiring support and it can be accessed on 116123.

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Other News Stories

A grade-II listed building has gained approval to build a new and dynamic space for its guests.

Read more

A third life-saving defibrillator will be placed in a North Somerset town.

Read more

Campaigners pushing for the public to have the final say on the Brexit deal have been in Portishead.

Read more

A public meeting will be held this week over plans to open a primary school in Yatton.

Read more

A country fair was held in a North Somerset village at the weekend.

Read more

A refurbished kiosk on Clevedon’s seafront 
has finally opened, but extra volunteers are required to help with its running.

Read more

More food safety inspections were done by North Somerset Council than any authority in the West of England area.

Read more
Yesterday, 18:50

An inpatient unit has reopened this week after two weeks of fire safety improvements.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:00

The company responsible for running North Somerset’s trains has admitted its network improvements have ‘come at a price’ as customer complaints are up 60 per cent on last year.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:00

People can now visit a cider barn at Barley Wood’s Walled Garden in Wrington during the summer months.

Read more

Most Read News

Read Online

Read the North Somerset Times e-edition E-edition

Local Weather



max temp: 21°C

min temp: 16°C

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Send Your Letters
Order Photos
Family notices
Reader Travel

Clevedon Tide report

Family Notices 24

Newsletter Sign Up

North Somerset Times twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

Somerset's trusted business finder

Find planning applications