‘Brilliant’ civil servant hit by train

By James Martin, June 3, 2009

The Newcastle Jewish community is mourning the loss of a “brilliant, kind and unassuming young man”, after the death of 32-year-old Adam Rothapel last Tuesday.

Mr Rothapel, private secretary to Minister of Justice Bridget Prentice, died after being hit by a train at Finchley Road station in London.

Mr Rothapel, who lived in West Hampstead, was due to marry Sam Baden, his Australian-born fiancée, in August. He leaves behind his mother, Hilary.

Speaking after the funeral, attended by 300 people in Newcastle on Sunday, Rabbi Dovid Lewis said: “He was a very friendly and sociable young man with a large circle of friends, both Jewish and non-Jewish. Most of his old classmates from Gosforth High School were here to pay their respects.

“He was also very active in charitable causes and did lots of volunteer work, including performing for residents in a Jewish residential home in Golders Green once a month.”

Rabbi Lewis is minister of the Newcastle United Hebrew Congregation, where the Rothapel family are long-time members.

Justice Minister Bridget Prentice, who attended the funeral, said that Mr Rothapel, who had been her private secretary for the past two years, “was one of the loveliest, most sensitive and intelligent people I have ever met.

“He was a great civil servant and his commitment to justice and fairness was obvious to all. I will miss him, not only a great adviser but as a genuine friend.’’

One of his oldest friends, Simon Rose, spoke of the loss of “a wonderful friend”.

The two, who shared a flat while Mr Rothapel was doing postgraduate studies at Manchester University, attended school together and were both active in Maccabi.

British Transport Police said this week they were treating his death as “non-suspicious”.

    Last updated: 5:06pm, October 13 2009