Albina Yevko, who had settled in Dawlish with her mother Inna, died in hospital after being discovered unconscious in the Devon seaside town on Saturday evening. The death of a 14-year-old Ukrainian girl on a beach in Devon is not suspicious, police confirmed today.
Today, Devon and Cornwall Police said a CCTV trawl, a post mortem and a review of Albina’s phone showed there was ‘no third party involvement’ in her death. They added that she had ‘settled very well into the UK’ and had ‘enjoyed living by the sea and being part of a new family’.
The force did not give any cause of death and said the case had been passed to the coroner. Detective Inspector Becky Davies said: ‘Following police enquiries undertaken throughout the Dawlish area, including CCTV trawls, review of Albina’s phone and a forensic post mortem; investigative officers can confirm that there was no third party involvement and that the death of Albina Yevko is not suspicious.
‘Our investigation shows that Albina had settled very well in the UK since moving from Ukraine and enjoyed living by the sea and being part of a new family. ‘She had made good friends, both Ukrainian and English in the UK, enjoyed school and was very much welcomed by the local community.
‘We have informed Albina’s next of kin of our findings and we ask that their privacy is respected at such a difficult time. ‘The police’s role is to continue gathering information surrounding this matter and to submit a file to the coroner who will hold an inquest into this death in due course.
‘We would like to thank everyone who has helped us with our investigation into this matter. Our thoughts are with all who knew Albina at this tragic time.’ Albina had moved to the UK in May last year after the Russian invasion – and was settling into new life and attending the local secondary school.
Tributes have continued to pour in for the schoolgirl – with those who knew her expressing their shock at her death. Olena Kravchenko, 39, a married accountant from Kharkiv, also came to the UK in May with her daughter, Vasilisa, seven, and had grown close to the family.
She said: ‘I didn’t believe it when I heard she had died. I thought this is not about her. I thought it was about another person, or a pet – a cat, hamster or fish. I couldn’t believe it. ‘Nobody thought it would be that way. We came abroad to find a safe place, so nobody could imagine that this could happen.
‘Albina was lovely girl. She was calm, she was smart. I can’t say she was very communicative. As with all kids [from Ukraine] she was with some stress and some not understanding how it will be one year later. ‘She was normal teenager – calm, kind, smart. She was a very good girl.’
Ms Kravchenko said she met Albina’s mother Inna at a local church in Dawlish shortly after arriving in the UK last year and had been supporting her. She added: ‘For any kid, it’s difficult to adjust. Our kids could learn English a little bit, but they can’t speak good. This isn’t a second language for them. They can know only a few phrases and it’s difficult to make friendships.
‘I don’t think she was struggling with something. She didn’t speak about struggling. Her mum, she never said about any problems in school. She didn’t speak about this. I can only assume she didn’t have any problems.’ Ms Kravchenko, whose husband and brother are in Ukraine fighting, said Inna was from an area called Kryvyi Rih.
She added: ‘It was normal to meet people like this because all our lives, being displaced from Ukraine, we are on the move. ‘I found out about Albina on Sunday. Us Ukrainians speak with each other, and if something bad happens, of course people will call or message. It’s a close community.
‘My message to Inna would be don’t give up. Everything will be good one day. For all Ukrainians. ‘Albina was really nice person. She didn’t offend anybody. She was nice girl. And her mother, she is really brilliant person – she is a good mother, a good worker and a good friend. I can’t say anything bad about either of them.
‘She loved to read books, she was a normal kid. My daughter was playing with Albina and they listened to music together. ‘Her daughter was the one point of her life. She is alone and she had only a daughter. It is so sad.
‘It’s like you lost your friend. We knew this girl. She was a normal teenager.We are willing to support Inna with everything that we can and give her everything she needs.’ Paying an earlier tribute alongside the release of a photo of her daughter, Inna said: ‘Myself and my family are devastated to have lost our beautiful Albina.
‘Nothing can ever replace her in our hearts. ‘We ask that our privacy is respected at this incredibly painful time.’ Police were first called on March 4 to reports Albina had gone missing. She was found on Dawlish Beach and airlifted to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, where she later died.
Another close family friend Viktoriia Zviholska, 38, added: ‘She was not only young, but also very bright, smart, interesting, she loved to draw. ‘She was a good person. I can’t believe this could happen to her. Albina always discussed with her mother what she would do and where she would go.
‘They liked England. Albina rejoiced at the new school. I found good people in them. I have only good memories of our time together.’ Angela Wood, owner of Coast to Coast souvenir shop in Dawlish, said: ‘I’m shocked and saddened. There are quite a few Ukrainian families here.
‘As a mother it is just very sad. It’s really tragic. When you think of all the trauma they have already gone through it’s heartbreaking.’ Ukraine’s foreign affairs ministry said it was aware of the death and that its ’embassy is cooperating with the British [police] in order to establish the circumstances’.
Dawlish College, where Albina was a pupil, said she ‘would be sorely missed by all who knew her’. Headteacher Sam Banks said the school was ‘devastated to learn of the tragic death’. He added: ‘Our thoughts are currently with Albina’s family and loved ones and we have extended our deepest condolences and offers of support to them.
‘We have set up emotional support… for staff and students. We would like to respect and echo the family’s request that their privacy be respected.’
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