Girl killed by train at level crossing 'looked the wrong way'

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A teenage girl who was killed by a train at a level crossing "looked the wrong way" and could have been wearing earphones, an inquest has heard.

Katie Littlewood, 15, from Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, died instantly when she was hit by a train travelling at 60mph at Johnson's Footpath Crossing on 28 January 2012.

An inquest at Hertforshire Coroner's Court heard that only looked one way before stepping out onto the crossing, and an iPod, earphones and phone were found at the scene.

However, it wasn't clear if she had definitely been listening to music at the time.

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The driver of the train, Steven Trumm, was reportedly "visibly shaken and in a state of shock" at the time the incident occurred.

He spoke to an off-duty police officer who was travelling on the train at the time and, according to the BBC, said: "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."

He seemed certain that she was not trying to take her own life.

According to the Daily Telegraph, his witness statement said: "At time of my approach I was travelling at 55 to 60mph.

"I then saw the female stride forward purposely as she made a decision to cross. At the time she did so she looked to her right as I approached from her left.

"As she did so I went to the horn. As I sounded the horn the female then looked towards the train and she looked shocked and then the train struck her."

The statement added: "His belief was that she was attempting to reach safety while moving swiftly across the track.

"He wasn't able to see her on impact and he hit the break."

The BBC reports that all warning systems were operating correctly at the time of Katie's death. There was an audible warning but, the coroner said: "Of course, if people have earphones they won't hear it."

Katie's father Simon Littlewood, and sister Sarah, 18, attended court.
The crossing closed at the end of 2012 and a footbridge was installed.

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