Page last updated at 13:57 GMT, Wednesday, 29 July 2009 14:57 UK

Girl hit by train after drinking

Sophie Harris
Sophie Harris followed another girl onto the track, the inquest heard

A girl of 16 died after being hit by a train when she walked onto a rail track after drinking vodka and wine with friends, an inquest has heard.

An accidental death verdict was returned on Sophie Harris who died in June 2008 at Pencoed near Bridgend.

The inquest jury in Aberdare heard Sophie, from Bridgend, was almost double the drink-drive limit.

The teenager shouted to a friend who warned her a train was coming "Don't worry, it's not going to hit me".

Chelsea Davies, 13, told police how she fell onto the main south Wales to London line and Sophie jumped down to follow her, the inquest heard.

Chelsea, who had been drinking red wine with Sophie, said: "I shouted to her: Get off the track there is a train coming."

I can recall Sophie looking round and seeing the train approaching, but then it hit her
Sophie's best friend Ceri-Anne Ryan

But the drunk teenager ignored the warning and seconds later she was killed by the 85mph train as her friends shouted at her to watch out.

Tina Harris told the inquest her daughter has started drinking vodka in the months before she died. Three months before, she had been taken to hospital after collapsing due to the amount of alcohol she had consumed.

She said: "Sophie was a vivacious, lively young lady with many friends.

"She was great with children and had started a childcare course but was not attending because of her habitual socialising."

The cause of death was given as blunt head injuries.

Flowers at Pencoed level crossing
Flowers laid at the nearby level crossing

A post mortem examination revealed Sophie had 157mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood.

Pathologist Dr Derek James said: "The level of alcohol was sufficient to affect Sophie's decision making, judgement and balance."

The inquest heard how the group knew a train was coming because the automatic level crossing in the village had closed and an alarm was sounding.

Sophie's best friend Ceri-Anne Ryan: "I was shouting for them both to get off the tracks.

"Chelsea had noticed the train and did get off the tracks. There were people on the platform all shouting.

"I can recall Sophie looking round and seeing the train approaching, but then it hit her.

Warning shouts

Another teenager Gethin Williams had seen the two girls drinking earlier in the evening and then saw them on the railway track.

He said: "I shouted: 'Chelsea get off the track. Don't be so stupid'.

"I could hear the train coming and Chelsea walked off the track.

"But the other girl carried on walking down the track and I saw her look behind and try to move away from the track. But the impact of the train hit her and she was killed."

Christian Davies who was driving the Paddington Great Western express train as it approached Pencoed, said: "I blew the horn and applied the emergency brakes but the female on the track didn't respond and didn't move."



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