Leeds schoolgirl, 14, died after ‘tragic road traffic collision’

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AN “incredibly bright” 14-year-old Leeds schoolgirl suffered fatal injuries when she was struck by a car after a day out at Temple Newsam with friends, an inquest heard.

Garforth Academy student Amelia Hope Wake of Rothwell was hit by a blue Ford Focus on Bullerthorpe Lane in Colton just before 5pm on Bank Holiday Monday May 30, Wakefield Coroner’s Court was told.

Amelia and three friends had been at Temple Newsam and were walking in single file along a grass verge next to the road as they headed towards McDonald’s at Colton.

The inquest heard two of her friends crossed the road and Amelia, who was born in Pontefract, was attempting to follow when she was struck by the Focus.

Amelia, who had ambitions to become a marine biologist, suffered severe head injuries.

She was taken to Leeds General Infirmary where she was pronounced dead in the paediatric intensive care unit at 12.47am the following day.

The Ford Focus driver Jane Lister had been travelling at around 50mph in a 60mph zone on Bullerthorpe Lane, the inquest was told.

West Yorkshire Police collision investigator James Vinney said the ‘sightline’ for Mrs Lister seeing Amelia ahead of the collision was 90 metres.

Mr Vinney wrote in a statement read to the inquest: “The likelihood is the driver had insufficient time to react let alone brake and bring the car to a stop.”

Jane Lister told police she had seen four youths ahead of her who were walking in the same direction that she was driving.

Reading Jane Lister’s statement to police, senior West Yorkshire Coroner David Hinchliff said she saw one boy run across the road before a girl “ran out in front of her.”

Amelia’s father Robert Wake, of Roundhay, asked Jane Lister: “I would just like to know, you had 100 metres nearly, why you didn’t reduce your speed? I know the collision was going to happen, but in my eyes it just feels like you had an opportunity to reduce your speed and the outcome would have been different.”

Mrs Lister said Amelia “ran out,” adding: “I thought she had seen me, but she clearly hadn’t.” She added: “If there’s anything I could do to change that day I would.”

Mr Hinchliff read a statement from witness Dawn Dickson, who had seen some children at the side of the road as she drove a Vauxhall Corsa along Bullerthorpe Lane.

The inquest heard Dawn Dickson said she had swerved after a girl took a step off the verge and into the road.

Amelia’s mother Nicola Walton wrote in a statement read at the inquest: “The loss off Amelia has had the most devastating impact on our whole family.

“Amelia was a very happy girl, always smiling and spreading laughter with her sense of humour.

“She was a beautiful girl in every way and the void she has left will never be filled. Our lives have been left shattered beyond repair.”

Garforth Academy year nine head Kate Dunne wrote: “Amelia was incredibly bright and was on track to achieve A grades in the majority of subjects at GCSE level.

“Amelia was held in high regard by teachers and students alike.”

Recording a verdict that Amelia died as a result of a “tragic road traffic collision,” Mr Hinchliff, said: “It appears that, probably on the spur of the moment, Amelia has chosen to cross the road. Whether she checked the road adequately I cannot say.”

Mr Hinchliff added: “I do accept the point that a driver seeing a group of people in that way could well have anticipated that someone might cross the road, particularly in the light that one had, but I don’t think that’s something that I can comment upon further.”

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