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Inquest reveals

schoolgirl Zoe fell from a railway bridge

local schoolgirl fatally fell from a railway bridge after being “disorientated and disturbed” by a passing train, a coroner’s inquest heard.


Zoe Miller, 13, of George Street, Berkhamsted, died on April 23 after falling from a bridge onto a passing train near Berkhamsted Rail Station, during a barefooted midnight walk she took after failing to get to sleep.

Te Abbots Hill schoolgirl was spotted between tracks at approximately 9am the next morning by a train driver travelling northwards. Shortly after the incident was reported to police, Zoe’s parents realised the 13-year-old was missing and it was ‘very quickly’ decided that the body was Zoe’s.

British Transport Police Inspector Andrew Rose told the inquest that Zoe’s fall came as she attempted to scale two metal fences on the bridge close to her home, whereupon she slipped and fell onto a train travelling to Euston at approximately 60mph.

Police investigations led to two homeowners claiming that they had heard the collision; with one telling police they had seen a “flashing light”. With no streetlights it was very dark on the bridge and the inquest heard that the passing train was “very disorientating and disturbing” for the Abbot’s Hill schoolgirl.

Prior to settling in Berkhamsted, Zoe and her parents

lived in South Africa, where she would often take to “running off in the garden” as she had a “considerable amount of energy from her upbringing”. It was an activity she continued after the family relocated to England and on a previous night Zoe’s parents found a note explaining her absence from bed.

Evidence scanned by police included extracts from Zoe’s journal, written over the last two years. Police

Zoe Miller, 13, died after falling from a bridge near Berkhamstead Rail Station.

also looked at diary entries written up to the day of Zoe’s death, which were described as “happy and upbeat”. Zoe’s phone, laptop and social networking accounts were also checked thoroughly by police, who found “nothing suspicious”.

As police found no “third party involvement” in the fall, Hertfordshire Deputy Coroner Graham Danbury ruled the incident as an accidental death. Zoe’s parents paid tribute to the 13-year-old in a statement, saying that they “miss her desperately”.

It read: “We will never know exactly what happened on the night she died, but we do know that we loved her and always will. Zoe was extremely bright, always with a book around her, and was an incredible writer and artist. We are privileged to have memories of nearly 14 wonderful years travelling the world with Zoe, and her adventurous free spirit will remain in our hearts forever.

It continued: “Te majority of Zoe’s ashes have been buried on the memorial walk at Sunnyside Church in Berkhamsted.

Some will be scattered on Hawaii

this Christmas, and the remainder will be scattered in Nigeria next year. Tese places represent the three worlds that made up her life.”

Te family now plans to find a new house “to help us move on”.




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