Vanessa Ford
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City Lawyer’s Tragic Death on Railway Highlights Mental Health and Safety Concerns

Vanessa Ford, a 47-year-old lawyer and mother of two, tragically lost her life on an East London railway track amid a severe mental health crisis, exacerbated by the pressures of working 18-hour days at a City law firm. The incident, which occurred after Vanessa consumed a significant amount of alcohol, led to her death from multiple injuries when she was struck by a train. The Inner North London Coroner’s Court, while investigating the incident, found no conclusive evidence of Vanessa’s intention to end her life, resulting in a narrative verdict rather than one of suicide, by “My London“.

In the time leading up to her death, Vanessa had been deeply involved in the high-stakes sale of Everton Football Club, a task that demanded long working hours from her as a senior equity partner at Pinsent Masons. Despite the immense workload, there were no recorded complaints from Vanessa regarding stress or her work-life balance, according to her colleague Matthew Morgan.

The coroner’s investigation prompted a prevention of future deaths report, aimed at Network Rail and Hackney Council, to address potential hazards posed by street furniture and infrastructure that could allow access to railway tracks. This action was spurred by evidence of other incidents in the area and the accessibility of the railway due to low walls and improperly situated street furniture.

In response to Vanessa’s death and the coroner’s recommendations, Pinsent Masons has initiated discussions with clients about the issues highlighted, emphasizing the importance of an ongoing dialogue regarding work-life balance. Meanwhile, Network Rail and Hackney Council have expressed their commitment to reviewing safety measures to prevent similar tragedies.

Vanessa’s passing has not only left a void in her family and workplace but also sparked a broader conversation about the pressures faced by professionals in high-stress environments and the critical importance of mental health support and infrastructure safety.

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