Death of Sophie Riley was misadventure, inquest jury concludes

Sophie Riley died on the A14 earlier this week 

The death of Sophie Riley has been ruled as misadventure by an inquest jury - Credit: Suffolk Constabulary

A 25-year-old woman who was killed on the A14 after leaving the eating disorder clinic where she was receiving treatment died by misadventure, an inquest jury has ruled. 

Sophie Riley, originally from Northampton, was being treated for anorexia and a personality disorder at the Chimney's Clinic in Rougham, near Bury St Edmunds, at the time of her death

During the four-day inquest, the jury heard how Ms Riley became agitated following a meeting with staff on February 16 this year.

She quickly climbed the 7ft metal gate at the Suffolk clinic and ran away from the site, pursued by staff from the Chimney's. 

Around 5pm, she crossed the westbound carriageway of the A14 at Rougham and climbed over the central reservation barrier. 

Ms Riley then moved into the path of traffic on the eastbound carriageway and was struck by a car and then a lorry. 

She was pronounced dead by ambulance staff at 6.12pm. 

Her father David Riley told the inquest his daughter had been a "loving and outgoing child" but her issues with eating and self-harm began in her teenage years. 

Most Read

She moved to the Chimney's in August 2020 after transferring from a unit in Northampton where she had been housed since 2018, the inquest heard. 

Andrea Fleck, Ms Riley's mother, told the court her daughter was "a kind, beautiful caring girl" and she had spoken to her on the day she died. 

Ms Fleck said her daughter had called her "distressed" around 10.30am because she wanted to be weighed by staff prior to a Covid-19 test. 

The inquest into the death opened at Suffolk Coroners' Court in Ipswich Picture: ARCHANT

The inquest was heard at Suffolk Coroner's Court in Ipswich - Credit: Archant

The inquest heard that in undated hand-written notes, Ms Riley expressed her "perfect weight", she also made references to "pro-ana" online material. 

The term pro-ana refers to content, usually online, that promotes the harmful behaviour and mindset that forms part of some eating disorders. 

Summing up the evidence for the jury, Jacqueline Devonish, area coroner for Suffolk, said: "Sophie spoke positively of 'Anna' to her family and clinical staff as if this was a friend.

"In fact, it was a website known as 'pro-Ana' which guided on how to starve yourself. It told her she was fat and ugly. Her condition got worse."

On Thursday, the jury concluded Ms Riley's death was misadventure. 

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter