'Happy, loving' Paulsgrove teenager George McGowan killed in road traffic accident while crossing the road on an e-scooter, inquest rules
THE inquest into the death of ‘happy, loving’ Paulsgrove teenager George McGowan has ruled that his death was caused by a tragic accident as he crossed a road on his e-scooter.
George McGowan, 19, had been riding his e-scooter on the pavement along Leominster Road at 8.14pm on June 12 when he attempted to cross the road.
The teenager entered the 20mph restricted road while obscured by a blue Transit van, leading to a head-on collision with a Volkswagen EOS, which resulted in the young man, who was reportedly not wearing a helmet, suffering a catastrophic head injury.
The Ludlow Road resident died in Southampton General Hospital 10 days later, with a coroner ruling today that his death was caused by a road traffic collision and a traumatic brain injury.
In a statement read out by coroner Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp, George’s mum Marie White expressed her heartbreak over the death of her son.
She said: ‘He was a very normal, happy, loving 19-year-old man.
‘When George’s equipment was removed, I was absolutely heartbroken and in disbelief that my son had died.
‘My life feels empty without George.
‘I cannot put into words how I feel.’
George’s partner, Lillie Haskett, also prepared a statement for the inquest, describing George as spending the day singing ‘It’s Coming Home’ at the top of his voice in anticipation of England’s first match in the championship.
Mum Marie added: ‘He had started to think about holiday plans for 2022 and he was so excited for the Euros.
‘He was a massive Liverpool FC fan and he loved going to Anfield when he could.’
Ruling on the young man’s death, coroner Mrs Rhodes-Kemp said that the circumstances leading to his death were ‘desperately sad’.
After examining CCTV footage and hearing from a forensic collision investigator at Hampshire Constabulary, the coroner said: ‘(George) does not appear to have checked to see if any vehicles are coming.
‘It’s likely he was listening to music at the time.’
George’s partner reports that the teenager put in his AirPod headphones – which were found scattered at the crash site - before setting off towards Leominster Road.
Forensic collision investigator Laura Bailey said that the teenager had suffered from epilepsy and ‘may have suffered from a seizure in the moments prior’ to the crash – but a medical episode was ‘considered unlikely’ as he had only just left the footpath.
The investigator said the Volkswagen’s driver would have had less than one second to react to the sudden appearance of the e-scooter.
Addressing the family, coroner Mrs Rhodes-Kemp said: ‘George sounded like such a lovely lad and I am very, very sorry for all of you.’
George had owned his Xiaomi e-scooter for more than three months, and had previously received a warning from the police for riding the e-scooter in a public place, as it is illegal to ride a privately-owned e-scooter on either the road or pavement.
A rental e-scooter trial in Portsmouth has seen more than 30,000 people try out the vehicles since the scheme started in March.