Coroner says fatal crash in Fareham was an accident

Julie Corben with her grandaughter Maisie in 2013
Julie Corben with her grandaughter Maisie in 2013
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A CORONER has told a family no-one is to blame for the death of their relative Julie Corben.

An inquest into Mrs Corben’s death held yesterday found the crash she died in last year was an accident.

All I can say is a car has turned right without seeing Julie’s motorcycle and they have collided.

David Horsley

The verdict came after evidence given by PC Andrew McDonald found that the driver of the vehicle, which was also involved in the collision, most likely went through a red traffic light.

The court also heard from a number of witnesses who saw the fatal crash on June 15, last year.

Mrs Corben was driving her new Harley Davidson along The Avenue, in Fareham, when she collided with a Fiat Doblo at the junction of Catisfield Road, near Peak Lane.

The junction is controlled by a number of traffic lights.

Coronor David Horsley said: ‘Julie Corben has died due to an accident. It was a very tragic accident for both her and her family.

‘It will scar their lives forever.

‘All I can say is a car has turned right without seeing Julie’s motorcycle and they have collided.’

The inquest heard from PC McDonald that as part of his investigation a GPS cycling device was used to work out what could have happened at the junction.

The device was taken from an eye-witness who heard the collision and went to help.

PC McDonald said using the cyclist’s evidence and the GPS data, they could pinpoint what colour the traffic lights were showing at the time of the collision.

‘There were no circumstances that would permit both vehicles having a green light,’ he said.

‘During a six-second period during which the collision occurred, the vehicle has been at a red light for 15 seconds and the light was not due to change for another eight seconds.

‘It is key that the movement of the Fiat Doblo coincided with the change of lights going west towards Titchfield on The Avenue.

‘It is not possible to establish why the driver crossed the junction while the lights were red. It is possible the driver reacted to other lights that were going green.’

He added that the motorbike being ridden by Mrs Corben was going between 30mph and 50mph – the speed limit along The Avenue ranges from 30mph to 40mph.

Mrs Corben’s daughter Jodie Elliott raised concerns with officers from Hampshire County Council about the safety of the junction.

Since the incident, the county council has removed two small trees and cut back a larger tree based on the central reservation near the junction.

Jodie said: ‘I want to know why the tree was allowed to grow so big even though it was blocking the reservation.

‘It is like my mum had to die before something was done about it.’

But Steve Woodward, team leader of safety engineering, said the scene was not known as a collision hotspot.

‘We had no calls from the public about the tree blocking visibility and it is not known for these sort of serious accidents,’ he said.