Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Friday, November 12, 1999 Published at 01:27 GMT


UK

Rail death inquiry team visit Britain

French police are using the internet to appeal for witnesses

French magistrates investigating the death of British student Isabel Peake are visiting England as part of their inquiry.

The move comes amid criticism of the French police's handling of the case.


[ image: Isabel Peake: Her parents have criticised the handling of the inquiry]
Isabel Peake: Her parents have criticised the handling of the inquiry
The 20-year-old's partially clothed body was found by the main Limoges-Paris railway line near the village of Chabenet on 13 October.

The Birmingham University student had been travelling to her home in Barlaston, near Stone, Staffordshire just two weeks into an exchange programme at the University of Limoges.

The two examining magistrates leading the investigation into her death - Chateauroux judges Michel Bonnieu and Jean Dematteis - will visit Stafford accompanied by two unnamed senior detectives on Friday.


The BBC's Jon Sopel: "There is a very low clear-up rate in cases like this"
It is not yet known why they are coming to England, nor to whom they will be speaking.

But a Staffordshire police spokesman said: "French law does not allow them to talk to the media about the case. As a result, they will not be giving interviews."

Miss Peake's parents say they came up against a wall of bureaucracy following their daughter's death, while police have been criticised for failing to take the train on which she was travelling out of service until six days after she died.


[ image: It took police six days to take the train out of service]
It took police six days to take the train out of service
But in France, police chiefs have defended the investigation, while extra officers have been drafted into the inquiry team.

Commander Daniel Baude told the BBC: "I am not allowed to go into details of the inquiry, but it is clear that with the additional resources it is helping us to make progress on a daily basis."

A special investigations unit has been set up, while officers are trying to track down everyone who was travelling on the train, which has now been moved to a siding near Limoges with its carriages sealed up.

Police are also using the internet for the first time to appeal for witnesses.

But Miss Peake's family remain unhappy with the way police have handled the case.


[ image: Commander Baude:
Commander Baude: "Progress on a daily basis"
Their solicitor, Paul Hawksworth, told the BBC: "They seemed to go round in circles for a number of days and this is notwithstanding the fact that Mrs Peake is a French national and Mr Peake speaks fluent French, so there was no language barrier."

Tests on Ms Peake's body found no evidence of rape, while robbery has also been ruled out.

One line of investigation is that she may have been killed by a gang of "delinquents" who regularly use trains similar to the one she was travelling on.



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©


UK Contents

Northern Ireland
Scotland
Wales
England

Relevant Stories

03 Nov 99 | UK
Police hunt gang over student death

03 Nov 99 | UK
Student 'assaulted before she died'

23 Oct 99 | UK
Student's death 'was not suicide'

21 Oct 99 | UK
Student death 'could be murder'





Internet Links


Staffordshire Police

French Police (in French)

French Police: Isabel Peake appeal (in French)


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online