An Oxford student who has been described as “a bright star that would set the world on fire” tragically died after accidentally walking off a cliff by the sea.
Popular Simone Norowzian, 21, was with friends in Margate when she climbed over a railing without realizing that there was a steep drop on the other side.
Simone pictured lived with friends at an Airbnb in Margate before the tragic accident
Her devastated family believes her death was avoidable and now calls on the Thanet District Council “to prevent such a tragedy from happening again”.
Simone, who read English and classics at Oxford, had been with two friends on the Kent coast for the holidays in August.
She went to a Wetherspoon pub for dinner and a drink before returning to her Airbnb in Ethelbert Terrace, where she played truth or dare with friends.
After staying up until the wee hours of the morning, she decided to have a cigarette outside by the sea before going to bed.
The drama enthusiast followed one of her friends, William Hayman, outside, who heard a “short, sharp scream” as the student fell to her death last year.
The 21-year-old (pictured) studied English and Classics at Oxford University
When asked this week, Mr. Hayman said in a statement read on his behalf: “After we finished the game of truth or dare, we sat up and talked for about 15 minutes.
“We decided to go to bed and Simone wanted a cigarette. She and I went into the parking lot and found that she was very drunk.
“She was about 10 meters in front of me and was walking towards the fence where the binoculars were.
“When I called out that there was a cliff, I heard a short, sharp scream.”
Simone had climbed over the railings that led along the cliffs near Margate Lido onto a strip of grass just before the slope and thought it would lead to the beach.
Instead, she unwittingly ended up on the boardwalk.
“The first thing I did was repeat Simone’s name,” Hayman continued.
“I stopped a car and asked him to call an ambulance.
“After the ambulance arrived, I went to the lido to try to see Simone, but it was too dark.
“I know for sure she wouldn’t have crossed over on purpose.”
“She was a true bright star full of light and passion that would set the world on fire …”
Shortly afterwards, on August 28 at 3:40 a.m., emergency services were called on site, where paramedics declared Simone dead.
During the Maidstone hearing, the student was described by her sister Claire Norowzian as a “reasonable girl” and a passionate thespian.
“Simone started her last year in Oxford. She was an avid actress and had her whole life ahead of her, ”added Claire.
“She couldn’t clearly assess the danger. She thought she was climbing over the barrier to a hill to the beach.
“We believe that her death was preventable and avoidable. We believe it is the Council’s responsibility to prevent such a tragedy from happening again. “
Family members described Simone as a drama enthusiast who “had her whole life ahead of her”.
DS Alper Ay informed the investigation on Wednesday that the “poor lighting” in the area and the fact that Simone had been drinking may have contributed to their fatal mistake.
Post-mortem reports showed the talented student from Sunbury-on-Thames was more than double the drink-driving limit.
DS Ay added, “If you stood on the railing, you can see that it is the edge of a cliff. Because of the poor lighting and long grass [beyond the railings] It might be difficult to see the drop at a glance.
“Under the influence of alcohol one could mistake the drop for a hill. It was a tragic accident. “
The Thanet District Council is responsible for maintaining the upper and lower boardwalks, as well as lighting and the meter-high railings along the cliff.
Oxford student Simone Norowzian died after accidentally walking off a cliff in August
Luke Glover, who works for the agency, insisted during the investigation that the barriers were up to the standards one would expect on a modern coastline.
He also stated that the lighting was appropriate for the area.
“It’s not often that you see people on the upper promenade at night,” he continued.
“In terms of cliff safety, it is probably better than many other parts of the UK.
“There are no deficiencies in the lighting at this point.”
After the hearing, a district council spokesman said the agency would review its coastal risk assessments
Mr Glover also revealed that council officials had discussed the merits of putting up signs along the coast to warn passers-by of the cliff.
Although he said it would not cost much to build, he said the agency was, “If there is a balustrade there, it is not necessary to register.”
“I’ve been with Thanet District Council for 13 years and I’ve never heard of an incident,” said Glover.
Post-mortem examinations showed that the passionate scholar died of a severe head injury sustained in the fall.
Recorded Simone’s death as an accident, Coroner Joanne Andrews added, “She was an intelligent girl and came to Margate with friends for a week.
“We believe it is the responsibility of the Council to prevent such a tragedy from happening again …”
“As I understand it, the upper promenade is easy and the lower one is not.
“There is no evidence that the council was aware of any lighting problems at the time. The railings are checked twice a year.
“This is nothing more than a tragic accident.”
However, Ms. Andrews made no recommendations to the county council about her outcome.
Despite this, a spokesman for KentOnline said after the hearing that officials would be conducting a review of their risk assessments on the coast.
Family members urged the Thanet District Council to take action to prevent the tragedy from happening again
A CARE International UK charity appeal was launched online by loved ones in Simone’s memory.
A tribute on the JustGiving page describes the talented student – also known as Atousa – as an intelligent and inspiring young woman.
It reads: “We cannot believe that our beautiful Atousa is no longer with us.
“We are really heartbroken. But we are fortunate enough to remember her as an inspiring daughter, sister, and aunt.
“She was a true bright star full of light and passion that would set the world on fire.
“Like her mother, Atousa was passionate about social justice and equality. She was also whip-smart and one of the few students at her school to attend Oxford University.
“Instead of sending flowers, we would be happy and appreciated if people could donate to CARE International.”
Click here to contribute to the fundraiser.
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