A Ukrainian refugee schoolgirl found unconscious on a Devon beach may have “lost” the edge of a sea wall in the dark before falling to her death, an inquest heard. Albina Yevko, 14, who came to the UK from the war-torn country in 2022, was reported missing on the evening of March 4 last year and was later found unconscious on Dawlish beach. Albina had gone for a walk to the shops at dusk and when she did not return her mother, Inna Yevko, tried calling her numerous times, but she did not answer.

She was airlifted to hospital in Exeter where she died the next morning. On Tuesday, senior investigating police officer Becky Davies told an inquest at Exeter and Greater Devon Coroner’s Court that she concluded Albina may have “lost” the edge of the wall in the dark and fell, saying she believed suicide was “highly unlikely”. Ms Davies said the sea wall, which sits between a railway line and the beach, is “well above head height” and had “no barrier, no lighting and no markings as to where the edge was”.

The Devon and Cornwall Police officer added that Albina was found “face down” with a wet front, dry hair and “dishevelled” clothes, believing that she fell while the tide was in. A post-mortem examination gave Albina’s cause of death as multiple injuries, which were “in keeping with a fall from height”, the inquest heard. Albina was born in Ukraine but had been living with her mother at a flat in the seaside town while attending Dawlish College.


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