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Schoolboy Joe Pickhaver was walking dog on beach hour before Whitstable train tragedy

By Gazette reporter

A schoolboy killed when he was struck by a train in Whitstable was walking a dog on the beach a little more than an hour before the tragedy, it has emerged.

Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School pupil Joe Pickhaver died after being hit close to a footbridge on Saturday night at about 9pm.

Officers investigating the incident say the 16-year-old was on the beach with a black and white collie around 8pm.

Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School pupil Joe Pickhaver
Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School pupil Joe Pickhaver

DC Paula Bennett said: "This was an incredibly tragic event for the boy’s family and our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.

"Although we are not treating this incident as suspicious I am continuing to explore the circumstances which led to him being on the tracks.

"I believe that around 8pm he was walking along the beach with a black and white collie dog. He was white with short dark hark and was wearing a black hoodie and jeans."

The railway line near Joy Lane, Whitstable
The railway line near Joy Lane, Whitstable

Officers from the British Transport Police are now appealing for information.

DC Bennett added: "We would like to hear from anyone who was in the area at the time, or who has any information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, so we can build a clearer picture of what took place."

Queen Elizabeth Grammar School head teacher David Anderson paid a touching tribute to Joe earlier this week.

He said: "Joe was a gentle, kind, giving and caring person who was a popular, conscientious and capable student.

"He was a talented artist who also had an interest in computer science and like most young boys, he enjoyed the company of his friends and loved gaming and playing chess.

"Joe would have been completing his GCSE courses next summer and had already achieved some excellent results - his tragic and early death is a big loss to the whole school.

Anyone with any information is encourage to contact BTP on 0800 40 50 40 or text 61016 quoting reference 630 of 10/12/2016.

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