Driver, 24, let out harrowing scream as she fell 30ft to death trying to cross dual carriageway after car caught fire

A DRIVER let out harrowing screams as she fell 30ft to death trying to cross a dual carriageway after her car caught fire, an inquest heard today.

Azra Kemal, 24, was travelling towards London with a friend when she fell from a bridge on the A21 onto the land below.

Witnesses saw the driver escape her flaming Ford Focus and head towards the central reservation on the A21 in Tonbridge, Kent on Thursday, July 16.

In a desperate attempt to flag down cars, Azra clambered over the barrier and fell an approximate 30ft drop off the Medway Viaduct to the Haysden Country Park below.

Police were called shortly after 2.30am and London School of Economics law graduate Azra was pronounced dead at 3.20am.

An inquest in Maidstone, Kent today heard she died of multiple severe injuries.

Azra's friend Omar Allen, who was in the passenger seat of her car when it caught fire, described the incident, saying: "There were just flames all over the car.

"We hopped out and the flames got bigger. They were all over the bonnet.


"Azra wanted to get her little Louis Vuitton bag but there was smoke and fire inside the car.

"I advised her that's not a good idea because the car was hissing like it was going to blow up.

"We got the bags that we could out and that's when we crossed the road to the central reservation.

"We were trying to flag down cars but there were no cars coming our way.

"Because of the fire, no car wanted to pass so they were all piling up."

The pair managed to make it across the central reservation initially to try and flag down traffic which continued to head southbound.

But in a panic, Azra then attempted to clamber over another larger waist-high barrier to return to the northbound carriageway.

Instead, she fell through a small gap between the two roads – while her friend, who was carrying the bags, followed her.

Traffic management worker Mr Allen, of Stoke Newington, North London added: "She walked out about two metres ahead of me and went to cross the dual carriageway again. So I went to follow her while carrying the bags.

"That's when I heard her fall. I looked down and I couldn't see her.

"The screams went on for so long that I knew it was far down.

"She was down there screaming for me to come help her."

Mr Allen, 31, said he attempted to climb down a tree to try and reach Azra but it snapped and he fell to the ground too.


He managed to get up a few seconds later but was unable to save Azra before medics rushed to the scene.

Mr Allen pointed out the gap in the carriageways where Azra fell in pictures of the road shown during the inquest.

He added: "I just want her mum to know that I did everything that I could to help Azra. I have a child too so I know what it must feel like to lose a child.

"It was a tragic thing to happen and I did everything that I could to save her. I don't want her mum to ever think I didn't do everything I could, because I did."

The friends, who had only met two weeks before, were on their way back to Azra's flat in Whetstone, North London from visiting Mr Allen's mum in Peacehaven, East Sussex around 9pm that night.

Mr Allen said Azra had drunk a bottle of wine on the journey down – but told the inquest he was completely sober.

He said Azra had become frustrated when he did not have enough money to buy another bottle at a petrol station on the way back, throwing his bag out the car in anger.

He said: "When I told her I didn't have enough money for wine, that's when she got a bit upset. She kind of got the hump about it." 

They had packed overnight bags to stay over but Mr Allen's mum ordered them to leave less than an hour after arriving when Azra accidentally broke a lamp while they were laughing and taking Snapchat selfies.

Off duty acting Police Sergeant James Savill spotted Azra in the driver's seat of her Ford Focus pulled over on the A27 near Lewes, East Sussex shortly after midnight as the pair made their way back to London.

He attempted to speak to the pair and said an upset and emotional Azra "appeared quite unsteady on her feet" when she walked out of the vehicle.

Mr Allen recalled: "The officer talked about a breathalyser and that's when Azra told me to get back in the car and then she drove off."

Mr Savill said the car sped off in excess of 100mph in the last time he saw it before hearing it had later burst into flames and resulted in tragedy.

Catherine Taylor, from Surrey, and daughter Olivia were in the first car to arrive at the scene on the northbound carriageway.

Ms Taylor, who called emergency services, was worried the flaming vehicle might explode as she heard popping noises.

She told the inquest she saw two figures illuminated by the fire run across four lanes and even clambered over the central reservation herself in an attempt to locate where they had gone.

Ms Taylor said: "I could hear a male voice and a female voice which was louder but then it suddenly went quiet for a good few minutes which is when I got worried. I called out 'are you okay?' and couldn't hear a reply.

"I then heard a guy shout 'help'. He was calling up to us and I could hear him trying to comfort her. I could hear Azra in pain."

Ms Taylor expressed her shock when she discovered Azra had fallen 30ft through a gap just metres from where Ms Taylor had climbed over herself.

She continued: "I didn't realise that the carriageway split and hadn't realised how high up we were. You just couldn't see. It was pitch black.

"Even looking down there, I didn't know it was a gap and thought it was just one barrier.

"There was no way you could have known because the dual carriageway had previously been joined.

"I'm just so sorry we couldn't have got to her sooner as I have a daughter the same age."

Ms Taylor's daughter Olivia Taylor peered over the drop and could only see darkness.

She said: "I heard a male voice shout up from the drop that a lady had fallen and hurt her back, had blood coming from her mouth and could not breathe.

"I had no idea how far the drop was. I could see there was a gap of around 3ft in the central reservation.

"I heard a male voice ask someone 'is the ambulance coming?' and 'where are they?'. He was talking to the lady and saying 'I promise they are coming, don't move'.

"Then the lady stopped talking. I could no longer hear her. About 20 minutes later we saw blue lights and people shouted down to the drop 'they're here'.

"We then saw an ambulance leave slowly and assumed it was bad news."

Asda lorry driver Tony Goddard, who was one of the first on the scene, said in a statement: "There should have been some motorway lights on.

"This may have highlighted the dangers of the drop and prevented the lady from falling."

After the incident, friends paid tribute to Azra at the family home.

Pal Tamara Griffith said: "She was the most hard working person I have ever met in my life. She believed in things."

Rosie Gavan said: "There was no other Azra on this earth and I don’t think there ever will be."

Coroner Alan Blunsdon adjourned the inquest to a later date yet to be confirmed.

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