Motorcyclist’s death ruled a ‘tragic accident’

Police car. Pitcure: Jon Rigby

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A MOTORCYCLIST found dead by the side of a road was involved in a tragic accident, a coroner has ruled.

An inquest was held at Portsmouth Coroner’s Court yesterday into the death of 58-year-old Martin Southwell.

The 58-year-old, from Andover, was found near Fort Fareham Industrial Estate, Fareham, by a passer-by on Thursday, September 24.
The court heard that Mr Southwell, a wireman who specialised in cabling for outside broadcast, had been working on the estate that day.

His employer Graeme Lewis said that Mr Southwell was ‘in a good mood’ and ‘no different to any other day’ when he left work in his biking leathers on his motorbike.

But a short time later, at about 2.10pm, Mr Southwell’s bike – a black Triumph Rocket Roadster – was found in the road and Mr Southwell was discovered in a bush on the side of the road by Alan Parry, a community co-responder who was also working nearby.

Mr Parry said he could not find a pulse but he performed CPR on Mr Southwell.

Despite his efforts, Mr Southwell was pronounced dead by emergency workers at the scene.

Mr Southwell’s wife Jean said he had appeared to be fine – despite a history of medical conditions for orthopaedic problems – when he left the house that morning.

She said: ‘He was on very good form that day, very optimistic and very well in himself.’

She spoke to him in his garage and told him to ‘have a lovely day’ before she set off for work.

‘That day he looked keen to go and keen to do the work,’ she said.

Crash investigator PC Tracey Saunders said in a statement that the bike 
had been travelling under 20mph when it did not turn with a bend in the road, and came off, hitting a signpost and a tree.

She said that evidence from the scene suggested that the most likely cause of the accident was due to Mr Southwell not steering, due to a momentary lapse in attention, distraction or a medical episode.

Coroner David Horsley said: ‘For some reason known only to Martin himself, he has failed to negotiate the bend.’

He added: ‘It was a very tragic accident.’