Train death Katie Littlewood 'did not look' at crossing

Katie Littlewood
Image caption Katie Littlewood was on her way to a Saturday job at a charity shop

A shocked train driver saw a teenager "walk out without looking" moments before she was struck by the London to Cambridge train, an inquest has heard.

Katie Littlewood, 15, of Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, died instantly at the town's Johnson's Footpath Crossing on 28 January 2012.

Hertfordshire Coroner's Court heard she appeared to think the route was clear.

Coroner Edward Thomas said he suspected Katie had been listening to her iPod, which was found nearby.

'Visibly shaken'

Katie's father Simon Littlewood said it was "not typical" of her not to pay attention and asked for the family's sympathies to be passed on to the driver.

He told the hearing he wanted the death "to act as a warning to everybody" and stressed that "the trauma caused to everybody else is substantial".

The inquest heard Katie had been exchanging text messages with friends minutes before her death.

The driver of the train repeatedly asked in the aftermath of the accident: "Why didn't she look?", the inquest in Hatfield heard.

Steven Trumm told an off-duty police officer, a passenger on the train, that Katie only turned around at the last minute, when it was too late.

The inquest was told Mr Trumm was "visibly shaken and in a state of shock" as he said to the police officer: "She just walked out without looking.

"She's a young girl about my daughter's age, about 20 or 21.

"It's the second time it's happened to me."

'Audible warning'

As instructed by Mr Thomas, the jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

He said: "Everything I read about Katie was that she was a lovely girl.

"She was obviously doing extremely well.

"I suspect she had her earphones in and I suspect she wanted to get on."

Signs at the crossing warned pedestrians it was only safe to cross when there was a green light.

There was also what the coroner described as "an audible warning", but he added: "Of course, if people have earphones they won't hear it."

All warning systems were operating correctly at the time of Katie's accident.

A footbridge, which had been discussed following a woman's death at the crossing in 2002, was installed after the crossing closed at the end of last year.

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