Peake's parents surprised by delay

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THE PARENTS of a British student thought to have been murdered by being pushed from a train in France expressed surprise yesterday at the delay in identifying her body.

Brian and Annie Peake paid tribute to their eldest daughter Isabel, 20, saying she had been a kind, hard-working, bright and intelligent girl who was aware of the dangers of travelling alone.

"She took careful precautions when travelling," they said in a statement. "When travelling alone she always liked to reach her destination before dark."

The body of the Birmingham University undergraduate was found three weeks ago beside the main Limoges-to-Paris railway after she had fallen or been pushed from a speeding carriage in the early hours.

In the statement, released by their solicitor, the grieving parents revealed that the French and law student's disappearance was kept secret from her dying grandmother.

Ms Peake, whose badly battered and partially clothed body was found lying near the village of Chabenet on 13 October, was just two weeks into an exchange programme at the university in nearby Limoges.

Tests on her body found no evidence of rape but police believe that a possible sexual motive could account for her being found in just her underwear and a T-shirt.

The student, of Barlaston, near Stone, Staffordshire, was on her way to see her boyfriend in Birmingham when she died.

Mr Peake, a professional linguist whose wife is a French national from Burgundy, also revealed that a funeral service for Isabel has already taken place in France.

An appeal for witnesses by police has failed to produce a description of Ms Peake's attacker or attackers and there have been a number of hoax calls.