Scream heard as Oxford student fell to her death drunkenly walking off cliff

A "sensible" Oxford University student drunkenly walked off a cliff to her death, an inquest heard.

Simone Norowzian, 21, had been staying at an Air BnB in Ethelbert Terrace, Margate, when the accident happened on August 28, 2020.

She'd climbed over railings running along the cliff-edge near Margate Lido and onto a strip of grass just before the drop, thinking it led to the beach.

Kent Online reports English and classics scholar Miss Norowzian had stayed up late with friends playing Truth or Dare before going out for a cigarette with a friend, William Hayman, who heard a "short, sharp scream" as she fell to her death on the promenade below.

Post-mortem examinations showed she died from a severe head injury sustained in the fall and found she was twice the drink-drive limit for alcohol.

The dead woman, from Sunbury-on-Thames, was a final year student and had been out at a local Wetherspoons with her two friends before returning home.

In a statement read to the inquest into her death, Mr Hayman said: "We decided to go to bed and Simone wanted a cigarette. She and I walked out into the car park and I realised she was very intoxicated.

"She was ahead of me by about 10 metres and walked towards the fence where the viewing binoculars were. As I shouted that there was a cliff, I heard a short, sharp scream.

  • Ex-Brit soldier found dead in Afghanistan had been 'ordering drugs on WhatsApp'

"The first thing I did was repeatedly call Simone’s name. I flagged a car down and pleaded with him to call an ambulance. After the ambulance arrived, I walked towards the lido to try to see Simone, but it was too dark."

He added: "I know for a fact that she would not have gone over on purpose."

Emergency services were called to the scene at about 3.40am on August 28, where paramedics pronounced her dead.

The dead woman's family have called on Thanet district council to prevent anything like it happening again.

  • Archie Lyndhurst's inquest scrapped as investigation into teen's death is discontinued

During the hearing in Maidstone, the drama-loving undergraduate was described by her sister Claire Norowzian as "a sensible girl".

She added: "Simone was entering her final year at Oxford. She was a keen actor and had her whole life ahead of her. She couldn’t clearly assess the danger. She thought she was climbing over the barrier to a hill to the beach.

"We believe her death was preventable and avoidable. We believe it is the council’s responsibility to prevent such a tragedy from being repeated."

DS Alper Ay also told the inquest on Wednesday "poor lighting" in the area – as well as the fact Simone had been drinking – could have contributed to the "tragic accident".

  • Mum's body found next to benefits letter after taking fatal overdose, inquest hears

Thanet District Council's Luke Glover told the inquest barriers were up to standards "you would expect along a modern coastline". He also claimed lighting was adequate.

He said: "It’s not often you would see people on the upper promenade at night. It’s probably better than a lot of areas in the UK in terms of clifftop safety. There are no defects with the lighting at that spot."

He said the council considered putting warning signs up but decided the balustrade was enough protection. Mr Glover added he had "never known of an incident there" in 13 years working for the council".

Coroner Joanne Andrews recorded Simone’s death as an accident, adding: "She was an intelligent girl and had come to Margate for a week away with friends.

"As I understand the situation, the upper promenade is light and the lower promenade is not. There’s no evidence that the council was aware of any issues with the lighting at the time.

"The railings are inspected twice a year. This is nothing other than a tragic accident."

Source: Read Full Article