Hampshire travel consultant’s holiday death ruled an accident

TRAGEDY Louise Black, who died in Italy
TRAGEDY Louise Black, who died in Italy

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THE death of a young woman in a car crash on holiday has been ruled an accident.

Louise Black was on holiday at her family’s Italian villa, with her boyfriend Andrew Vermeulen when the accident happened on October 22, 2011.

The 24-year-old, who was originally from the Petersfield area, had spent the evening eating and drinking with her partner of two years and his mother, an inquest into her death heard on Monday.

Mr Vermeulen went to bed at 11pm and woke up at around 9am the following morning to find his girlfriend, a luxury travel consultant, was not there.

He searched the estate and realised the car, which only he was registered to drive, was missing.

The estate manager received a call to say the car, a Fiat Panda, had been involved in an accident and someone had been taken to hospital.

Assistant Deputy Coroner for Portsmouth Karen Harrold, sitting at East Hampshire District Council, said Miss Black had left a note for Mr Vermeulen on his iPad. She asked him what he thought her intentions were.

He said: ‘I believe her intention was to go somewhere else.

‘I believe she was going to the airport.’

He added: ‘I thought she was just running away.’

The inquest heard that Miss Black had ‘taken off’ on previous occasions.

Evidence from a report by Italian police, read out at the inquest, revealed Miss Black died instantly in a head-on crash with a Ford Focus belonging to Marco Bagnina, on Route 416 towards Niccone in the early hours of October 22.

Hours earlier she had been spotted a few miles away from the accident spot in an agitated state by a passer-by, close to her car. She appeared calm when the witness left her.

Miss Black’s father Thomas said he disputes police reports that Miss Black wasn’t wearing a seat belt and also claimed Mr Bagnina had been drinking and was speeding at the time of the crash.

The case is going through the Italian courts.

Mrs Harrold ruled Miss Black’s death was an accident and said to Mr Black: ‘I’m really very, very sorry that you have lost her in this way.’