A MAN was so drunk when he passed through a closed level crossing that he was oblivious to the train speeding towards him, an inquest heard.

Tommy Ramshaw, 20, was more than three times the drink drive limit and had cannabis in his system when he was clipped by the train at the Brunswick Road crossing, Shoreham, on February 27 this year.

He had been just inches from safety but appeared not to react despite the train driver sounding the horn and slamming on the emergency brakes.

The inquest into his death, held at Centenary House in Durrington, heard that the window fitter had been out with two friends visiting various pubs in his home town of Shoreham.

They decided to head back to his house in Nicholson Drive when they arrived at the level crossing, which was closed with the barriers down and the red lights flashing.

In a statement read out in court, his friend Gary Hocking told how Tommy had got inpatient and decided to cross.

The two of them pulled apart the barriers so they could squeeze through while the other friend remained on the other side, rolling a cigarette.

When mid way across, the train driver, travelling at 68mph, spotted the two men on the track and sounded the horn.

Detective Sergeant Gerry Griffin, from British Transport Police, said: "There was no urgency in the way he was trying to cross. On the CCTV it looks like he is not aware of his actions and that could well be because of he amount of alcohol he consumed that night."

Doctor David Wright told how toxicology tests showed 275ml of alcohol in his blood per 100ml which he said would have been consistent with "extreme drunkenness".

He also had traces of cannabis in line with recreational use of the drug.

His family told the inquest how Tommy was not one to take risks and that deciding to go through the barrier was completely out of character.

Speaking after the hearing, his sister, Jade, 22, called for Network Rail to improve the barriers at the crossing.

She said: "We found it very surprising that they managed to just pull them apart and get through.

"We would like to see better barriers put in place to make sure this doesn't happen again."

Doctor Karen Henderson, assistant coroner for West Sussex, gave the cause of death as internal bleeding as a result of a traumatic liver injury caused by the impact.

Recording the death as an accident, she said: "He was out with his mates drinking quite a lot of alcohol and he made a fateful decision and crossed a barrier that was closed. As a consequence unfortunately he was clipped by the train which caused his injuries that were not survivable."