Fatal A3(M) crash could have been suicide, inquest hears

A MAN who died in a car crash could have caused the collision on purpose to commit suicide, a coroner's court heard.

Wednesday, 7th December 2016, 6:10 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 1:39 pm

The inquest into the death of Oliver Walton, 25, found he had experienced depressive thoughts at some point before the crash on July 8 at junction 4 for Purbrook on the A3(M).

His silver Vauxhall Astra hit the barrier separating the slip road and the main northbound carriageway. He suffered multiple traumatic injuries and died at Queen Alexandra Hospital.

Officers giving evidence told assistant coroner Lincoln Brookes that a note had been found on Mr Walton’s bed in Southsea which they thought could have contained suicidal thoughts.

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But the court heard from his family that although he sometimes felt stressed with his job at a logistics firm in Hambledon, he had never said he was depressed.

Witnesses to the crash said Mr Walton was driving at least 80mph before moving into the left-hand lane as though he were heading towards the slip road.

PC Drew McDonnell, from the forensic collision investigation unit, said: ‘It is possible that he had intended to go on the slip road but misjudged the viability of that manoeuvre because of his speed or other vehicles.

‘From marks left on the road, it is clear the car is travelling left and if it stayed that course, it would have missed the barriers.

‘But some input by the driver has seen the car turn right and crash into the barrier.’

During his investigation PC McDonnell also found that Mr Walton was not wearing a seatbelt. He added that had he been, he may have survived.

A report from the pathologist revealed Mr Walton was 2.3 times over the drink-driving limit and also had cocaine in his system.

His family, who live in Yorkshire, said although he liked to party and socialise, they were surprised he had taken cocaine.

Paying tribute, his dad Philip said: ‘His sense of humour made him special.

‘He was always talking to us in a Whatsapp group and travelled to see us often.

‘He was arranging to move house and go on holiday.

‘Oliver believed in education and was a tutor. He thought teaching was the most rewarding thing you can do.’

Giving a narrative conclusion, Mr Brookes said: ‘Oliver lost control of the vehicle due to excessive alcohol, cocaine use and a depressed mental state.

‘He wasn’t himself for whatever reason.’