He was a 'one of a kind' wonderful bloke, then one day he didn't come home

Johnny Carlton was described as "fun, intelligent and kind"
-Credit: (Image: Facebook)

Johnny Carlton was a third year politics student at Lancaster University. He excelled in everything he did.

A keen cricketer, he played for Richmondshire in Yorkshire as a youngster. When he moved to Lancashire, he started playing with his university team.

His teammates knew him as a 'wonderful bloke'.

The 22-year-old was well known for his charitable work and volunteered with RAIS (Refugee Advocacy, Information and Support); a local charity which provides help to refugees and asylum seekers living in Lancaster and Morecambe.

In the early days of 2024, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Johnny's girlfriend said there had been the typical stress associated with a final year of study, but ne had "no issues".

At 6.30pm on January 22, he ran into a friend at the library. They exchanged pleasantries, and Johnny seemed in good spirits.

Later that evening, was seen running along a railway line, close to a level crossing. Moments later, he was hit by an oncoming parcel train.

Although it was 9pm, the crossing was well lit. Tragic CCTV footage showed Johnny's "clearly intentional" act


In a post on Instagram, his cricket club wrote: "It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Johnny Carlton. Johnny was a fantastic cricketer and a wonderful bloke, he will be truly missed by all of us. He was a valued member of our club and we offer our deepest condolences to his family and friends."

An inquest held on Friday (May 31) at Morecambe Town Hall heard from British Transport Police fatalities investigator Derek Woolley who spoke to several of Johnny's friends and relatives after his death.

"It is a well-lit area due to the speed of the trains going through and the barriers were down," the officer said.

"CCTV shows at 8.55pm as the train travels along the lights on the crossing can be seen in the distance and on the left hand side there is a person, we now know to be Mr Carlton, running along and then climbing over the barrier."

Two trains were passing through the crossing at the time of Johnny's death. One was the parcel train heading to Birmingham which and the other was the Manchester Airport to Barrow-in-Furness passenger train.

Johnny's girlfriend said that while there had been a bit of stress due to university work he had "no issues" and his housemate said there had been "nothing out of the ordinary".

The last person to speak to Johnny was a student who saw him in the university library at around 6.30pm on the night he died. She said they "exchanged pleasantries and there was nothing of concern".

Johnny's parents described him as someone who "loved sports, his work and other interests". Mr Woolley said: "He excelled at everything he did in life. He was a very charitable, well-liked and well-loved young man."

But the tragedy has left them with more questions than answers.

Assistant Coroner Richard Taylor returned a conclusion of suicide and said: "Putting himself in the path of a train has sadly inevitable consequences. Sadly I can't assist those who knew and loved him with an answer as to why."

After Johnny's death Lancaster University hosted a memorial service while RAIS Lancaster held a gathering on Millennium Bridge; one of Johnny's "favourite locations", to send off a lantern into the sky and to have a drink in Merchants; one of his favourite pubs.

The university said in a statement: "[Johnny's] death is a huge loss for the University community, and we know this will be a very difficult time for those who had come to know him during his time at Lancaster. The thoughts of the University community are with all of his friends and family."

The university also opened an online book of condolence. RAIS, the charity which he volunteered for, wrote: "Johnny was a kind volunteer at RAIS Lancaster devoted to helping asylum seekers and refugees locally.

"He created a welcoming environment with his warm energy, smile, and compassionate energy. He had no prejudices; he was thoughtful and considerate to all refugees he worked with. Johnny was a rare young man; he was fun, intelligent, kind, and cared about other people.

"We feel blessed to have known him and we are in shock that he is gone. The world is a lesser place without him."

Jim While, who was the chairman of the junior section of Richmondshire Cricket Club where Johnny played as a child, posted: "Johnny was one of one of the core members of a strong group of players, that won multiple trophies playing for both our club and Richmond School, with Johnny usually being one of the opening bowlers.

"Johnny also helped with coaching younger juniors and played adult cricket, taking a 5 wicket haul for our 3rd XI in 2017, so was clearly a more than useful cricketer.

"I last spoke to Johnny over a year ago, when he was happy and smiling. My condolences to his parents, brother, his wider family and friends."

Lucas Ngai, one of Johnny's university friends, wrote: "I've not felt so empty like this in a while. Life is so cruel, and so unfair. It truly is. But we already knew that didn't we mate.

"My heart is so heavy knowing you're not here with us anymore, and knowing the last time I saw you, was the last time. But you lived a life that was true to you, and made an impact on those around you. Your family, your friends, your peers, me.

"I wasn't expecting for your name to have been listed when I found out in a seminar yesterday, and I just wish life were playing a cruel joke and I just wish your time with us was a little longer. For this page to even exist is heart-breaking and numbing for me to see.

"Jimmy's won't be the same without you, and neither will Lancaster. I just wish we could have one more pub night out where we would have more deep conversations, and talk about the future more, and after, I would sign us up for karaoke on a random week night and then fight to make sure the other got home safely first.

"Thank you for everything. Thank you for making this lonely place, a lot less lonely. Wherever you are, you better still be adding to your stack of car park tickets and living with an unlimited pint tap. Johnny.

"You were truly a one of a kind mate, and there won't be another like you. I'll forever be grateful for the times we spent together and you will forever be missed.

"We were supposed to graduate together, so I'll finish the degree for the both of us. Global South Political Economy ain't got nothing on us. Rest easy fella, we got it from here. Lots of love."