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Young homeless woman killed herself at Teynham station, inquest hears

By David Gazet

A young homeless woman who lay down in the path of an oncoming train believed she had serious mental health issues, an inquest heard.

Amber Baker was hit and killed after she climbed onto the tracks at Teynham railway station on April 11 - days before she was due to move into a flat with her partner.

She was just 18 years old.

Amber Baker
Amber Baker

An inquiry into the death held today at Archbishop’s Palace in Maidstone heard evidence from the British Transport Police (BTP), a pathologist and doctors. No family were present.

The court was told how Ms Baker was born in Chatham. She was a food technician at McDonald's in Sittingbourne and had been sofa surfing with friends in the town and in London after leaving home last summer.

She planned to join the Royal Navy.

Judith Ericksen, a coroner liaison officer with the BTP, said security cameras recorded Ms Baker alone in the waiting area of the station on the night of her death.

She said around 9.17pm, an oncoming train sounded its warning and Ms Baker climbed onto the tracks.

The train was unable to stop in time and Ms Baker was pronounced dead at the scene. A pathologist gave the cause of death as fatal traumatic injuries.

Floral tributes were left Teynham Railway Station
Floral tributes were left Teynham Railway Station

The former Highsted pupil sent a text to her girlfriend at 9pm saying she intended to kill herself.

Friends mounted a desperate search and reported her missing at 1.30 am.

In the weeks leading up to her death, Ms Baker told her partner she was worried after experiencing hallucinations and hearing voices.

She was suffering depression, regularly binge drinking and smoking cannabis daily but had not sought help from mental health services.

As a child Ms Baker had gone through episodes of depression anxiety and self harm and on one occasion taken an overdose of painkillers.

She was referred to mental health services but did not attend appointments.

At the time of the death friends gave warm tributes. Emily Langley said: “Amber was the kind of person who would do her own thing, it didn’t always go so well for her, bless her, but she really did have a heart of gold.

“She’d always listen to anyone’s problems and try and help no matter how small or petty."

Concluding the hearing, senior coroner Patricia Harding said she was confident from the evidence Ms Baker's act was intentional.

She said: “I am satisfied so I am sure that Amber intended to take her own life in climbing onto the train track and lying down in front of the train and so I will record a verdict of suicide.”

If you would like confidential support on an emotional issue, call Samaritans on 116 123 at any time.

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