'Impossible' to know if train death accidental
A former Christchurch mayoral candidate may have been suffering a psychotic episode when he was fatally hit by a train in Wairarapa.
Kieran Gallagher-Power, 25, died as a result of injuries when he stepped in front of a Tranz Metro train at 10.46am on September 5.
The Christchurch man was a Green Party member who ran for the Christchurch mayoralty in 2010. He had been in a Christian retreat in the Wairarapa.
At a coroner's inquest in Wellington District Court yesterday, coroner Garry Evans said it was "impossible" to know whether Mr Gallagher-Power was fully aware of the consequences of his actions, as he had been diagnosed with a psychotic disorder and had not been taking his medication at the time of his death.
"I know from the evidence what he did, but I don't know what was going on in his head."
He returned an open verdict because of the lack of certainty around Gallagher-Power's intentions.
There was enough evidence to rule out an accident, but not enough to show Gallagher-Power's actions were a deliberate attempt to end his own life, Evans said.
Train driver Adam Ford broke down in tears as he told the court that he had mere seconds to respond when the man ran out from the side of the road and lay down on the tracks.
"I saw his face and thought, 'What the hell is happening?' "
Gallagher-Power's mother, Kathleen Gallagher, said her son had recently decided to go into teacher training and spend more time with the Marist community.
"The only person who will know if this was an accident is Kieran," she said.
The Dominion Post