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Teenage girl killed by car after trip to McDonald’s with friends – inquest

The inquest into Mya Lawrence’s death was held at County Hall in Maidstone (Gareth Fuller/PA)
The inquest into Mya Lawrence’s death was held at County Hall in Maidstone (Gareth Fuller/PA)

A teenage girl who was killed while crossing a busy road may have been egged on by her friends, an inquest has heard.

Mya Lawrence, 13, of Whitfield near Dover in Kent, died on October 15 2021 as she was crossing the A256 Whitfield Hill.

She was walking home from a visit to McDonald’s with some friends when she was hit close to a roundabout by a car.

An inquest into Mya’s death on Monday was heard at County Hall in Maidstone and coroner Katrina Hepburn confirmed the cause of her death was a road traffic collision.

Mya Lawrence, 13, was hit and killed by a car near Dover, Kent
Mya Lawrence, 13, was hit and killed by a car near Dover, Kent (PA)

The court heard that at about 7.40pm Mya and her friends had left McDonald’s and were attempting to cross the A256 before cutting through a gap in a fence to return to the housing estate where they lived.

Two of Mya’s friends remembered hearing challenges along the lines of “first one back to the estate”, but it is not known if Mya heard this or not.

Detective Constable Claire Fullagar, of Kent Police, told the inquest: “At least two comments were heard by two witnesses of a challenge to try and get across the road quicker, but there is no evidence Mya heard that challenge.”

Mya had made it halfway across the road but when entering the second lane she was hit by a blue Vauxhall Astra driven by Daniel Browning.

A witness who arrived at the scene less than a minute later, a delivery driver, began first aid and two off-duty nurses also attempted CPR while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

Resuscitation efforts lasting more than an hour were not successful and Mya was pronounced dead at 8.53pm.

Her mother, Dawn Hopkins, was by her side holding her hand when resuscitation was ceased.

Court Inquest
Dawn Hopkins speaks outside County Hall in Maidstone (Katie Boyden/PA)

Police officers who attended the scene carried out alcohol and drug detection tests upon Mr Browning and no drugs or alcohol were detected. He also passed a preliminary impairment test and analysis of his mobile phone showed it was not in use at the time of the crash.

There were no defects of his car which would have contributed to the collision, and analysis of the scene concluded he would have been driving below the 50mph speed limit at the time of the collision.

Due to Mya’s dark clothing it was highly likely Mr Browning did not see her and therefore was unable to perform an emergency stop in enough time to avoid hitting her.

No criminal charges were brought against Mr Browning.

Det Con Fullagar’s investigation concluded: “There was no evidence Mr Browning contributed to the cause of the collision so the cause must lie with the actions of Mya.”

Mya’s cause of death was confirmed as a head injury caused by a road traffic collision.

Ms Hepburn concluded: “I want to pay my sincere condolences to the family for these events which led to the tragic loss of Mya.”

Speaking outside the courtroom after the verdict, Ms Hopkins paid tribute to her daughter and called for more to be done to improve safety for pedestrians.

She said: “Mya was bright, very sassy, she was always wearing sunglasses on her head. She was very friendly to everyone. She wanted to be a carer or support worker and was already helping other pupils at school with their reading and writing.

“Her death has affected us tons, we miss her loads, and her little sister turned six five days before the crash, so October is a very up and down month.

“We’re just trying to get through it for our little one and trying to get back to normal.”