Tragedy of St Albans musician who died after magic mushrooms episode

Christopher Johnson, who stepped in front of a train in April after consuming magic mushrooms.

Christopher Johnson, who stepped in front of a train in April after consuming magic mushrooms. - Credit: Archant

A musician who took his own life during a psychotic episode involving home-grown ‘magic mushrooms’ would have had no intention of doing so had he been sober, a coroner has ruled.

Christopher Johnson, of Ashbourne Court, St Albans, stepped in front of a train travelling at more than 100mph near London Colney in April.

But assistant Herts coroner Alison Grief told the inquest last week that Christopher, 32, would likely have had no motivation to do so had he not been experiencing paranoia and fear induced by the psychoactive drugs.

She described Christopher as a “talented musician with a real gift for music” who suffered with anxiety and depression.

Christopher was also suffering with alcohol problems, the inquest heard, and had been attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

At 3pm on April 16, just hours before his death, Christopher had appeared in good spirits, according to Ms Grief, talking about his plans for the next few weeks.

But during a 999 phone call later that evening in which Christopher told an operator that he was “on magic”, he said: “I’ve screwed up. I need the police. I know they’re trying to kill me.”

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Ms Grief told the inquest that Christopher’s paranoia was likely due to the ingestion of the magic mushrooms.

She said: “Clearly, when somebody walks onto the railway tracks – which is, in itself a highly dangerous thing to do – the issue of whether or not they wanted to take their own life is raised.

“For a coroner to reach a conclusion of suicide I would have to be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the person had formed a clear intention to take his own life.

“It’s patently obvious that I couldn’t under any circumstances come to that determination.”

Ms Grief said that toxicology reports confirmed the presence of psilocin and psilocin metabolites – clear indicators that Christopher had ingested magic mushrooms.

A JustGiving page set up in Christopher’s memory has so far raised more than £5,300 for Alzheimer’s Research UK. Christopher’s father was diagnosed with the disease in 2013 and Christopher had raised money for the charity in the past.

Click here to donate in Christopher’s memory.