A “much-loved” Bracknell teenager died after being electrocuted when he slipped on snow and fell onto live rail at Wokingham train station.

James Fennell, a 19-year-old apprentice engineer, had been drinking with his friends for a birthday celebration in February.

His friends went on to a nightclub that evening but the teenager decided to go home instead.

At an inquest in Reading, Tyler Stacy, a friend on the night-out, said: “We decided to go to a nightclub in Reading so walked to Bracknell train station.

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“James was being annoying by messing about. All of a sudden he jumped down onto the tracks - we shouted at him to get back up and he did.

“We all got on the train and after the Wokingham stop we became aware that James was no longer on it.

“He had not said he was going to get off. We heard the following morning that he had died.”

A coroner heard that he probably did not know of the existence of a live rail on electrified lines at Wokingham rail station in Berkshire and was taking a short cut across the tracks to wait for a train to take him back home.

Bracknell News:

However, snow was falling and as he picked his way carefully over the tracks, he slipped and fell on his back onto the live rail line, killing him instantly.

The 19-year-old had left his friends on the train and got off at Wokingham station to head back home, the inquest heard.

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Rail operator Ali Abdelhamid said: “I saw him slip and fall onto the live rail where he was electrocuted.

“I saw a male try to go down to save him, I shouted ‘if you touch him you will die.’ The line was switched off and the ambulance crew arrived and administered CPR.”

James’ mum, Carol Fennell, interrupted the inquest to say a few days after James’ death, the family visited the station.

Mr Abdelhamind told them James had helped him with another incident before his death.

Bracknell News:

Ms Fennell said: “That is James, he would always help out people.”

“My 19-year-old son touched the lives of so many people across his large family and even bigger circle of friends.

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“He was a much loved, kindhearted, funny, friendly, helpful boy who just loved having fun and enjoying life to the full.

“I don’t believe James knew there were live rails on the railway tracks, I certainly didn’t and neither did his friends.

“There is no signage along platforms to warn of this danger and I believe there should be, to prevent any future accidents and fatalities.

“There are no words to describe the heartache, pain, loss and emptiness I feel. No mother should ever have to bury their child. The pain is excruciating.”

Coroner Heidi Connor recorded the cause of death as electrocution and ruled that it was an accident.

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She said: “I do not find that he knew the risks. If he had been aware of the risks of this third live rail it may have changed his actions that night.”