Matt Markham: Heartbreak after Sheffield Wednesday fan and beloved dad-of-two died after being hit by train

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A Sheffield Wednesday-mad father-of-two tragically died by suicide after being struck by a train, an inquest has concluded.

Matthew Markham, known as Matt, tragically died on January 9, 2024, at the aged of 36, after he was struck by a Northern Rail train travelling from Sheffield to Leeds.

Assistant Coroner Natalie James today concluded his heartbreaking passing was suicide.

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Matt Markham, pictured here with his family, tragically died after being struck by a train in Sheffield.Matt Markham, pictured here with his family, tragically died after being struck by a train in Sheffield.
Matt Markham, pictured here with his family, tragically died after being struck by a train in Sheffield. | Matt Markham

The inquest heard how CCTV footage had captured the fatal collision and that Matt died as a result of multiple injuries.

After finding Matt had died by suicide, Ms James spoke to Matt’s wife, Kelsie Markham, who was in attendance. She said: “I hope you cherish good memories and I wish you and your family very well for the future... My sincere condolences for your loss.”

In a statement summarised by the assistant coroner, the train driver, Richard Holmes, told how as he rounded a bend he saw Matt “with no more than 10-20 yards notice” and immediately hit the emergency brakes.

Matt Markham, left, with brothers Chris, centre, and Richard, right, and their mum Jean in the backgroundMatt Markham, left, with brothers Chris, centre, and Richard, right, and their mum Jean in the background
Matt Markham, left, with brothers Chris, centre, and Richard, right, and their mum Jean in the background | Markham Family

British Transport Police (BTP) investigator Derek Woolley said emergency services responded to reports of a man having been struck by a train and Matt was sadly pronounced dead at the scene.

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The BTP investigation found there was no evidence of third party involvement, nor any injuries not consistent with being struck by a train. Matt’s death was declared “non-suspicious” the same day.

The assistant coroner admitted two letters to evidence addressed to Kelsie Markham and Matt’s mother. Mr Woolley said in his evidence those letters were written shortly before Matt’s passing and appeared to be authored by him.

Assistant Coroner Natalie James concluded Matt’s heartbreaking death was a suicide.Assistant Coroner Natalie James concluded Matt’s heartbreaking death was a suicide.
Assistant Coroner Natalie James concluded Matt’s heartbreaking death was a suicide. | Matt Markham

Mr Woolley’s investigation also found there was no warning for the train driver before the moment he first saw Matt. He said: “The impacting train had a clear green light informing him it was safe to continue.”

Owls fan Matt with Blades-supporting brother Richard and youngest sibling Chris, backOwls fan Matt with Blades-supporting brother Richard and youngest sibling Chris, back
Owls fan Matt with Blades-supporting brother Richard and youngest sibling Chris, back | Markham Family

The investigation established the train driver did exactly what he was supposed to do in the circumstances and the train was travelling at the appropriate speed. There was no way for the train to divert before impact.

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After being asked by Mrs Markham, Mr Woolley stated the driver of the train, Mr Holmes, was “doing okay” and was being supported by officers.

Richard Markham and Matt Markham.Richard Markham and Matt Markham.
Richard Markham and Matt Markham.

In a tribute published by The Star shortly after Matt’s passing in January, his brother, Richard Markham said: “We were close from being kids, really close.

“It was more just like being best mates than anything else. We grew up liking the same sort of stuff and were quite close in age, so that helped. I remember flying down our steep road in the back of our other brother Chris’ plastic tractor, with one of us holding on in the trailer in the back.

"Or pestering our mum and dad to let us 'test' the new games console she'd bought us for Christmas, from about September until she eventually took it back to wrap up in early December. Or playing rugby for hours together, walking back from the park in our boots absolutely caked in mud until we got home and mum made us strip off in the garden before we could walk into the house. 

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"I can't put into words how the week has been. A struggle is probably the best description. You're grieving, but you want to remember all the good stuff while there are a million other things to think about. I know his girls will do him proud. And he will be missed by everyone who loves him."

When life is difficult, Samaritans are here – day or night, 365 days a year. You can call them for free on 116 123, email them at [email protected], or visit samaritans.org to find your nearest branch.

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