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Child survives father's reckless suicide on train tracks

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 26th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A child has survived the reckless and selfish actions of her father, who plucked her and stood on tracks with her in his arms onto the path of an oncoming train. The father was killed instantly - but the girl, now aged four, has recovered fully.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The girl's father, 28-year-old Richard Straw had learned that his wife was having an affair with his best friend. Straw then grabbed his daughter Scarlett as he stepped into the oncoming path of an express train.

An inquest determined that Straw had discovered that Scarlett's 27-year-old mother Samantha Roberts had been seeing his best friend, Lee Bacon, behind his back.

Straw had been arrested on suspicion of setting fire to Bacon's home a week before his suicide.

Distraught at the idea of anyone else "being Scarlett's dad," the inquest in Doncaster, United Kingdom learned, straw had been with Scarlett's mother for five years. The couple had split up a month before Straw's death in July of last year, with Roberts leaving the family home.

She had been seeing Bacon since the April, when her relationship with Straw was falling apart.

The inquest heard they had frequently argued over his gambling and drinking.  Miss Roberts told the hearing that Straw had "found out properly" about her relationship with the 30-year-old Bacon, the day before he killed himself.

Straw arrived the next morning, when he arrived unannounced to take Scarlett for lunch and a trip to the park. "He seemed happy," she said. "He said to Scarlett to say goodbye to mummy and tell her you love her."

When they failed to return, she went to Straw's house, where abusive graffiti had been scrawled on the walls.

One message read "you always wanted me dead" and another said, "Mummy I love you goodbye."

A third, referring to Scarlett, said, "Get your own family, she's mine."

Roberts then received a phone call from the police to tell her about the train incident.

Straw died from multiple injuries when he was hit by the Leeds-bound express train on the East Coast main line near Doncaster. Driver David Dobson said he saw a man run from undergrowth at the side of the track as he neared a crossing. "He looked straight at me and seemed to speed up. I could see he was carrying a girl."

Straw died instantly. Scarlett's cheekbone was fractured, one arm was broken and one leg was smashed by the blow, which also left her with a huge wound on the back of her head -- but she survived after 45 days in the hospital.

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