The death of a mother who was hit and killed by a train along with her three-year-old daughter could have been the result of inadequate fencing and hoardings at Taplow Station, a coroners’ court has heard.

Leighane Redmond, aged 27, and her three-year-old daughter Melisade Parris, died at Taplow Railway Station after they were hit by a high-speed train in February 2019.

British Transport Police had treated the case as a murder-suicide, and the results of their investigations are expected to be revealed when the full inquest takes place.

At a pre-inquest review hearing held at Beaconsfield Coroners’ Court today (Thursday), the court heard how Leighane’s mother wants to invite a rail expert to help establish whether her daughter was let down by rail and contractor firms that were operating at the station on the day of her death.

Yvette Redmond’s lawyer Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC told the court she was concerned the other parties would “mark their own homework” when assessing what happened on the day of the tragedy.

Ms Gallagher said: “It is essential to have an expert.

“There are various standards on the railway. Without expert assistance, it will not be possible to know if the interested parties adhered to their responsibilities.

“It is up to you [the coroner] to assess whether the interested parties adhered to their responsibilities, rather than the interested parties marking their own homework.

“We have to make an independent assessment.”

Concerns have been raised by the family of the victims that fencing and hoardings at Taplow Station, which was undergoing construction works when the incident took place, made it too easy for Leighane, who lived nearby in Taplow, to access the station’s high-speed platform.

Questions were also raised at a previous pre-inquest review as to why station staff did not interfere when Leighane, who was struggling with mental health issues, had been standing with her daughter on the platform for more than an hour.

Ben Compton QC, representing MTR Elizabeth Line, questioned the need for a rail expert in the matter. He said: “Some of us have been involved in hearings where experts are needed, like in crashes where trains leave the tracks.

“I just question how much a pure rail expert can really help in this case. The question is how Leighane and Melisade were able to access the high-speed platform in Taplow Station.

“If you want a pure rail expert, that expert is not going to  help you any more than the people that you have before you in the physical arrangements of the station.

“Issues of fencing; I just don’t really see how a rail expert can help you with hoardings.”

Appearing at the pre-inquest review via video link were representatives of Oxford Health, Bucks Council, MTR Elizabeth Line, TFL Rail, J Murphy and Sons Ltd, Network Rail and British Transport Police.

Following discussions on rail experts, coroner Crispin Butler announced that he would wait for further submissions before deciding whether to allow one at the full inquest.

He said: “This was during a period where there were temporary structures on a temporary basis and a number of different agencies involved.

“I haven’t made the decision to rule out an expert.”

Mr Butler also heard submissions from the lawyers about whether authorities had breached Leighane’s human rights under Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights, a topic which was also discussed at a previous pre-inquest review in 2019.

The coroner decided that he would gather more submissions on the matter before making a decision.

The hearing was adjourned after around two hours and another pre-inquest review is expected to take place before the full four-week inquest later this year.

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