Date: 28 Jul 1996
Ian Lowery fell from a bridge and was run over by a train.
He had earlier been drinking at the Hare and Hounds pub in Churchdown and had then gone onto a social club before he had gone off to buy some chips from a Chinese takeaway. It was said that he had been keen to get home because he had wanted to watch Linford Christie run in the Atlanta Olympics.
He was found dead on the railway line soon after, when the driver and mate of an 85-ton maintenance locomotive on the Cheltenham to Gloucester line saw him on the track but were unable to stop. They said that they had tried to stop the train and had applied the emergency brakes but could not stop before hitting him. They said that when they first saw Ian Lowery on the line, he was motionless.
His death was initially treated as misadventure, but the police later said that they were treating his death as suspicious and his body was exhumed. It was heard that the police had initially thought that Ian Lowery had tried to walk along the bridge wall and had fallen over.
Seven men and a woman were arrested on suspicion of murder two years later but no charges were brought against them.
The bridge that he had fallen from was known as Sugarloaf bridge and was 40 feet from the track.
After the train stopped, Ian Lowery's dismembered remains were found scattered along the railway line, just after midnight.
However, because it was heard that the police had assumed that he had fallen from the bridge accidently, his remains were removed quickly to allow trains to continue using the line, and the scene was not fully examined for evidence. It was also heard that scuff marks found on the wall of the railway bridge had been ignored by the police. It was also noted that the pathologist was not called to the scene where he was said to have fallen onto the line and that his post-mortem was minimal.
However, it was later determined that his wallet, along with the money that had would have had on him, and his ring, that he always wore, were missing, suggesting that he had been mugged beforehand.
Ian Lowery's parents said that Ian Lowery was scared stiff of heights and would have never have climbed onto the side of the bridge. They said that he wouldn't even stand on a ladder to change a lightbulb, saying that his legs would shake and said that whenever he crossed the bridge he would walk in the road.
His father said, 'The only thing we can think that happened is someone tried to rob him and he ended up being thrown over the bridge'.
He had left the social club at about 11.30pm and his walk home would have taken him about 30 minutes. The moment that he would have reached Sugarloaf bridge, he would have been about 5 minutes’ walk from his home.
The bridge was made of brick with sides about four feet high.
Ian Lowery's parents later made a complaint against the police in 2001 and during a new investigation, which included a fresh post-mortem, reports that a man in black was seen leaning over the bridge at about the time he was said to have fallen over it came to light.
In March 2002 a man was then arrested on suspicion of murder and another on suspicion of perverting the course of justice, but the Crown Prosecution Service ruled there was insufficient evidence to prosecute them.
When the Independent Police Complaints Commission announced its findings into the complaint, which they upheld, and the investigation, they stated that the 1996 investigation was 'badly handled with officers failing to carry out a thorough and proper investigation and making a premature assumption of accidental death'. They also said that the search of the death scene was 'inadequate', and stated that possible clues, including contradictory witness evidence, were ignored.
Ian Lowery had lived in Yew Tree Way in Churchdown.