Three graffiti artists were trying to “conceal themselves” in an attempt to avoid detection when they were killed by a train, an inquest has heard.
Alberto Fresneda Carrasco, 19, and 23-year-olds Jack Gilbert and Harrison Scott-Hood were hit in the early hours of June 18 last year on tracks in Brixton, south London after trying to hide.
The three friends, who all lived in London, had met the night before to go and spray paint walls, Southwark Coroner’s Court heard on Thursday.
Detective Sergeant Simon Rees, who led the investigation into their deaths, said it was “completely pitch black” on the largely moonless night, but they would have seen the train’s lights coming towards them.
“My view is it’s impossible to know what rail it was on and I believe their first instinct was to conceal themselves because they wanted to go on to create artwork,” he added to the court.
“It is likely in terms of where they were they dropped down behind a wall so they are not seen. Unfortunately they had already put themselves in harm’s way.”
He added the three are believed to have scaled a 6ft fence to trespass on the elevated track near Loughborough Junction station.
The driver said his shift was “uneventful” and did not realise there had been an impact, which occurred between Denmark Hill and Brixton.
Gilbert’s mother Maxine said she knew her son enjoyed painting but was surprised he was on the train tracks, having believed he was using legal spray walls.
The last thing he told her was: “I’m going out painting, love you lots.”
In a statement, she said the her “boy brought everyone joy” and that he had been supporting his sister and two nieces after the death of his brother-in-law in January 2018.
“Painting grounded him and in those last few months, in our family’s darkest days, it was his release, his therapy,” she said.
Scott-Hood’s mother Susie Hood said in a statement her son, was a “creative, free-spirited young man”, and criticised the “stigma” surrounding the “amazing art form” of graffiti.
Fresneda, a New York City-born student had written a list of his life aspirations before he died.
In a statement read to court, his mother Isabel Carrasco said: “We just wish he could’ve fulfilled his dreams.”
All three men died from multiple injuries as a result of being struck by a train, post-mortem examinations found.
The inquest continues.