A heavily pregnant mum-of-two “star jumped” in front of a high speed train after discovering her unborn baby girl could have a deformity, an inquest heard.
Royal Mail worker Zdenka Yabani, the wife of a church minister, spiralled downhill after a scan of her unborn daughter revealed the news that her baby was “small” and could have a facial abnormality.
Just two days after her eldest son’s 10th birthday, she kissed her children goodbye as they went to school and she walked to Slough railway station in Berkshire, a coroner heard.
Eight months pregnant, she bought herself a ticket before running across the platform and “star jumping” in front of a non-stop intercity train which sped through the station at 115mph – instantly killing her.
The inquest heard how the 39-year-old had previously aborted a child – without her husband’s knowledge – in 2012 after discovering the baby could be born with an abnormality as a side effect of her bipolar medication.
Just weeks before her tragic railway death, the family-of-four had returned to their flat above St Andrew’s Church in Slough following a “wonderful” Christmas spent with friends in Manchester and Scotland.
The inquest heard that on New Year’s Eve, Ghanaian husband Jude Yabani returned from working as a church minister to find his two young sons alone in the flat. To his horror, later that evening Zdenka walked through the door, doused in diesel fuel.
Jude told the inquest: “It was completely out of the blue, it scared me. I was going to call the mental health service team but she said she did not want them to visit, she said they interfered with her marriage and her pregnancy.
“Usually when she had an episode, the signs were lack of sleep, lack of appetite and being angry but she was normal before and after the incident.”
The coroner heard how the religious pair met while they were both living in the Czech Republic before separately travelling to America and reconnecting. The couple married and moved to Manchester in July 2005.
Giving evidence at the Berkshire Coroner’s Court in Reading, Mr Yabani explained that the pair moved to Slough in 2007 after he accepted the role of Minister at St Andrew’s Church and Zdenka was pregnant with their first son.
The inquest was told that between 2005 and 2015 while living in the UK, Zdenka had eight admissions to hospital, with half relating to being pregnant or having been pregnant.
Jude said: “We were aware that pregnancy was a difficult time for her in terms of her mental health. With our first child, she had severe postnatal depression. She had to be admitted to hospital two weeks after we came home.
“After the birth of our second child, she relapsed and was admitted to hospital again.
“We had a discussion about having another child, I told her we had two wonderful children and I did not feel it was necessary to have a third and I thought she agreed.”
Zdenka kept her third pregnancy a secret from her husband for five months, the coroner heard. Following a scan, the couple were overjoyed to find out their prayers had been answered and they were expecting a little girl.
Having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, the court heard how Zdenka was not “terribly keen” on taking her medication and following her discharge from mental health services in March 2017, she kept her husband in the dark and stopped taking it, despite advice.
Following the pregnancy news, the mother-of-two decided she didn’t want to deliver her third child at Wexham Park Hospital, instead wanting to transfer to the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, yearning for a different experience from her first two births, the coroner heard.
On January 2, 2018, the couple went to the Royal Berkshire Hospital for a baby scan where they were told the infant was “small” and may have a facial deformity.
The couple soon received a letter from the Overseas Department stating they would have to pay for the luxury of transferring hospitals, which sent Zdenka’s mood spiralling, assistant coroner Alison Mccormick heard.
Jude told a hearing on Thursday: “She kept saying ‘this country doesn’t want me’ and ‘nobody wants me here’. I did not think she was suffering a relapse at the time although it did not occur to me. I was trying to get rid of her sadness.”
On January 8, 2018, the husband took his two children to school and returned home to find the paperwork for the transfer of hospitals lying on the computer keyboard, before he discovered his wife had thrown herself in the path of a high-speed train, killing her and his unborn daughter.
A Great Western Railway employee, Anna Bodja, who witnessed the tragic death, said: “I heard the fast train approaching, I heard the announcement and I saw the announcement on the board.
“I noticed a woman in a white jacket back away and start running across the platform. She did a star jump in front of the train, it lasted a second or two.”
Pathologist Dr Rezan Guardi confirmed that the woman died from multiple injuries.
Paying tribute to his late wife, Jude added: “Zdenka was a lovely woman, I was blessed to have her in my life. She was caring and a good mother.
“When she was well, we never had confrontations, the only time we argued was when she didn’t want to take her medication. I will never regret having her in my life.”
The inquest continues on Monday.