Police hope to question man over ski death

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The Independent Online
FRENCH police were hoping to begin questioning a man today in connection with the death of a British teenager in a skiing accident.

Nicola Jones, 18, of Horley, Surrey, suffered a fractured skull and died instantly after the French skier crashed into her, throwing her 20 yards on a piste at the Alpine resort of Tignes.

The Frenchman, believed to be in his twenties, is in hospital with severe head and back injuries. He reportedly collided with Ms Jones after losing control of his speed.

A police spokesman said that they had not been able to question the man yesterday as hoped, but would be going to the hospital today 'when he should have recovered sufficiently to give us a clear idea of the circumstances of the girl's death'.

The man could be charged with unintentional homicide. Under the conventions of skiing, skiers are always responsible for their behaviour towards those below them on the mountain.

A spokeswoman at the Gatwick Penta Hotel, where Ms Jones worked part-time in the coffee shop, said the staff were shocked by her death. 'Nicola was a very pretty, friendly and polite person, well-liked by staff and customers. She will be missed by everyone here.'

Harry Rogers, 64, who worked with Ms Jones when she joined Hinton Hill Insurance company in Leatherhead, Surrey as a secretary in 1990, said: 'She was a bubbly person and she had all her life before her.'

Ms Jones was with her mother, Jacqueline, on a week's holiday organised through Ski West, a Bath-based holiday company. They were staying at a chalet with 10 other people.

Mrs Jones returned to Britain on Saturday night and is believed to be staying with relatives. Ms Jones's body is due to be flown to Britain today.

The accident happened in good skiing conditions on a wide and fast 'red run', the Grande Motte, recommended for skiers who are experienced and confident of their ability. The classification of ski slopes is: green - easy; blue - quite difficult; red - difficult; black - very difficult.

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