‘Our Zoe, so happy and so wonderful’

Zoe Miller from Berkhamsted, who was found dead on rail lines.
Zoe Miller from Berkhamsted, who was found dead on rail lines.

TRIBUTES have been paid following the tragic death of a 13-year-old girl on railway tracks in Berkhamsted.

Zoe Miller is believed to have fallen from the Ivy House Lane road bridge.

Emergency services were alerted at 6.15am on Monday and the line was closed, but she was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

In a statement her parents Jane and Rob and her 11-year-old sister Sam described her as ‘adventurous, brilliant, creative, beautiful, happy and wonderful’.

She lived at George Street in Berkhamsted but went to Abbots Hill School in Hemel Hempstead and was a member of the air cadets and the medic cadets with St John Ambulance.

Her mother Jane works in international development for the UK government and spent years in Africa promoting education for girls.

The family returned to the town in August last year and Zoe was born in South Africa, before spending six years in Nigeria and 21/2 in Zambia.

Zoe’s father Rob, a bioinformatics scientist, is from the US and she had visited there, as well as South America, Nepal, Australia and Zanzibar.

In the statement the family said: “It appears that Zoe slipped out late at night on Sunday because she couldn’t sleep, and climbed on the wall on the bridge over the railroad behind our house.

“Her body was first noticed about the time we woke up Monday morning.

“We think that she was just messing around and did not perceive what would happen.

“She had her bag packed for school, homework done, school uniform laid out, plans organised for future events – and left no note.

“It was a terrible accident and we are still trying to come to terms with the situation.”

The statement adds: “Not only was she brilliant academically, she also had huge artistic talent as well as fitness – and ran this year in the recent county cross country championships.

In Nigeria she won the science fair last year with her project on soap making, and was runner-up in the writing Oscars for the American International School she attended.”

Police are still trying to piece together Zoe’s final moments and are appealing for anyone who might have seen her.

Det Insp Andy Rose of the British Transport Police said: “Did you see Zoe? Perhaps you were driving down Ivy House Lane or the junction by Bank Mill and saw her walking? Whatever information you have, no matter how insignificant it may seem, it could prove valuable in helping us piece together Zoe’s final few minutes.

“Zoe has left behind a distraught family and we want to be able to tell them exactly what happened and help them come to terms with the tragedy.”

The death is not being treated as suspicious. You can contact the investigators on 0800 405040.