Woman killed on train ‘while leaning out of window’ named

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A woman who died from serious head injuries after reportedly leaning out of a train window has been described as a dedicated social justice activist.

Bethan Roper, 28, was killed on the Bristol Temple Meads-bound service on December 1 while returning from a Christmas shopping trip with friends.

The charity worker and chair of a young socialist group was returning to her home in South Wales after spending the day at Bath’s Christmas Market when she suffered the fatal blow to her head.

British Transport Police said its initial inquiries suggested Miss Roper may have been leaning out of a carriage window at the time.

On Tuesday Ross Saunders, organiser for Socialist Party Cardiff, paid tribute to her in a blog post, in which he described how she would defend “anyone suffering under any form of oppression”.

He said: “Everyone who knew her will feel her loss. Beth was one of those rare people who always seemed kind and sincere.

“She was no pushover either, though. She had steel, and was utterly intolerant of injustice.

“She was always instantly and unquestionably on the side of anyone suffering under any form of oppression, always ready to defend them, and willing to put her own shoulder to wheel to move things.

“She was ever and an activist, and fighting back against injustice was part of her DNA

“She was only 28, but she had made her mark already on everyone around her.”

On Tuesday, a spokeswoman for BTP confirmed Miss Roper died at the scene despite the efforts of medical staff at Bristol Temple Meads station, and asked for privacy for her family.

The spokeswoman said: “The family of Bethan Roper, aged 28, who died after sustaining a serious head injury on board a train between Bath Spa and Bristol Temple Meads, have requested privacy.

“British Transport Police were called to Bristol Temple Meads at 10.10pm on Saturday 1 December, Bethan sadly died at the scene despite best efforts of medical staff.

“Bethan’s family are being supported by specially trained family liaison officers, and they have today asked for privacy from the press while the come to terms with their loss.”

The spokeswoman said the incident was reported to the Rail Accident Investigation Branch, and that the death was not being treated as suspicious.

An inquest into her death is yet to open at Avon Coroner’s Court in Bristol.

Miss Roper, from Penarth, South Wales, was working for the Welsh Refugee Council at the time of her death, having graduated from Cardiff Metropolitan University in 2013.

The charity, a sister organisation to the UK-wide Refugee Council, works to help asylum seekers and refugees in Wales.

She was also a campaigner and chairman of Young Socialists Cardiff, and gave a speech in Cardiff earlier this year arguing asylum seekers’ right to work and receive education were being ignored by the UK government.

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