Leading organiser of Nottingham Pride died in collision with train

An inquest has concluded into the death of a former Nottingham Post worker who was instrumental in organising the city's annual Pride festival. The judicial inquiry into the death of Richard Ellis Clay, better known to his friends and family as Richie, took place on Thursday, May 30, at Nottingham Coroner's Court.

Coroner Fiona Gingell led the hearing and ruled that the 43-year-old made the "tragic" decision on June 15, 2023, to take his own life after a long battle with his mental health. Mr Clay worked as the former commercial director of the Nottingham Post from 2014 to 2016, and after his time with Local World, which used to run the newspaper, he went on to work for both East Midlands and West Midlands Trains.

It is understood that he had most recently been a business partner at the Abellio Group. Mr Clay was born in Nottingham and throughout his life had given back to the city in many ways, such as being a key organiser for the Nottingham Pride events. On the day of his death, Mr Clay had started his morning with his friends at Center Parcs but decided to leave the trip early and checked out at 7.30am.

Later that morning he took himself to an area of railway track near Newark and as a passenger train travelled towards the town, Mr Clay collided with the fast-moving train. Mr Dilwyn Lewis, a fatality investigator for British Transport Police, stated: "It was about 9.55am that morning, Thursday, June 15.

"A passenger train was heading towards Newark and was travelling at around 100mph." Regarding what he was told by the driver at the time, he said: "The person was so close to the track that it all happened in a split second."

The police investigation concluded that there were no other people about at the time and no suspicious circumstances. Mr Clay was identified through his car, which he had parked near the scene, as well as his bank cards and other personal items.

The court heard that Mr Clay had struggled with anxiety for some time and had a long-documented medical history of this. In the months leading up to his death, he had been "overwhelmed" and was experiencing additional stress around his relationship, social life and work.

This had also resulted in a previous suicide attempt in February 2023 where Mr Clay took a large quantity of the medication he had been prescribed and was taken to Queen's Medical Centre. However, after this incident, it was heard that he spoke to doctors and physiatrists about his struggles and was making progress.

Mr Lewis added that as part of the investigation, Mr Clay's husband, Lewis, described him as being "a very sociable person who enjoyed spending time with friends and family, who enjoyed travelling and loved to try new things".

Members of Mr Clay's family attended the inquest, including his father David Clay, who asked about the welfare of the train driver that hit his son, and was reassured that he was being supported.

Coroner Gingell later stated in her conclusion that the collision had been "unavoidable" and there was "nothing" that the driver could have done. A postmortem examination carried out by pathologist, Professor Ian Ellis, suggested that the medical cause of death was "a direct consequence of massive multiple injuries sustained by collision with a fast-moving train".

This cause of his death was suggested as "multiple injuries and alcohol intoxication". This was due to the toxicology finding that Mr Clay's blood alcohol was 6.01mg per gram, however, it was noted that there would have been a considerable amount of after-death ethanol production in the body due to the significant visceral damage experienced.

The family members present believed that Mr Clay had not been drinking after he gave it up and had been making good progress, which was also heard by the court in the GP report. Due to this, Coroner Gingell stated: "I'm going to remove alcohol intoxication for the medical cause of death for those reasons. I'm going to record the medical cause of death as '1A multiple injuries'."

If you or someone you know needs support, the Samaritans is a registered charity which aims to provide emotional support to anyone in distress, struggling to cope or at risk of suicide. The charity runs a 24-hour free helpline, which can be called on 116 123, and the charity can also be contacted by calling 020 8394 8300 or emailing admin@samaritans.org.