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‘A mistake that cost them their lives’ - lack of sleep and inexperience contributed to road deaths of Mile Cross brothers Sam and Shane Nobbs

PUBLISHED: 08:12 03 May 2017 | UPDATED: 15:24 03 May 2017

Brothers Shane (left) and Sam Nobbs. PIC: Submitted by Norfolk police.

Brothers Shane (left) and Sam Nobbs. PIC: Submitted by Norfolk police.

Archant

Inexperience and lack of sleep played their part in a fatal road crash which claimed the lives of 20-year-old Sam Nobbs and his brother, Shane, 23, an inquest has heard.

Peter Ash, who wasseverely injured in the crash. Mr Ash is here pictured in the lead-up to a Trans-Antarctic Expedition in 2010, with one of the vehicles he prepared. Picture: Archant Library Peter Ash, who wasseverely injured in the crash. Mr Ash is here pictured in the lead-up to a Trans-Antarctic Expedition in 2010, with one of the vehicles he prepared. Picture: Archant Library

Yvonne Blake, area coroner, said at an inquest on Tuesday in Norwich a “combination of factors” led to the collision which killed Sam and Shane, both of Bignold Road, Mile Cross, on November 19 last year.

Sam was driving a Honda Civic which swerved into oncoming traffic and hit a LDV Maxus van on the A140, at Horsham St Faith at about 8am.

The van’s driver, Peter Ash, needed facial reconstruction surgery and an operation to his right leg after the crash. He was left blind in his left eye and has only limited vision in his right eye.

The inquest heard the Nobbs brothers had driven between Norwich and Cromer five times the night before the collision. When it happened, they had just dropped off a friend in Cromer and were returning home.

Sam overtook a Mercedes flatbed truck and a Renault car, which slowed to let the Honda back into the Norwich-bound lane.

But Mrs Blake said after getting back into the lane, Sam clipped a kerb and then overcompensated on his steering, sending him into the path of Mr Ash’s van in the north-bound lane.

Reading a report by PC Forbes Scott, forensic collision investigator, Mrs Blake said: “In my opinion, the alcohol, drugs, lack of sleep combined with inexperience led to the loss of control. He hit the kerb, then over-corrected, that put him into the path of the oncoming vehicle.”

Sam was found with 48mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood - under the limit of 80mg.

Floral tributes on the A140 near Horsham St Faith where the crash happened. Picture: Sonya Duncan Floral tributes on the A140 near Horsham St Faith where the crash happened. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Investigators found he also had traces of cannabis and cocaine in his system, but it was unclear how recently they had been taken or what effect they would have had on his driving.

Lisa Nobbs, the boys’ mother, said in a statement read out by Mrs Blake: “They were good, kind, loving boys and they made the biggest mistake and it cost them their lives.”

Mrs Blake gave a short narrative conclusion that they had died due to multiple injuries caused by a road traffic accident.

Sam had been due to appear in court charged with using a motor vehicle without third party insurance and otherwise in accordance with a licence, in that he was a provisional licence holder driving without L plates and appropriate supervision.

Floral tributes on the A140 near Horsham St Faith where the crash happened. Picture: Sonya Duncan Floral tributes on the A140 near Horsham St Faith where the crash happened. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Mum’s heartache

After the inquest, Lisa Nobbs paid tribute to her sons in a written statement.

It read: “I would just like to say that my boys weren’t bad people, They will be greatly missed by everyone that knew them. Sam made a mistake that cost him his life but everyone makes mistakes and no-one is perfect.

Written message from Lisa Nobbs, Sam and Shane's mother. Picture: submitted Written message from Lisa Nobbs, Sam and Shane's mother. Picture: submitted

“They were good kind loving boys who touched the hearts of people they knew. Forever in our hearts, RIP. God bless.”

The road to recovery

Life for Peter Ash, from Norwich, will never be the same following the crash.

Mr Ash owns Dunkirk Garage in Aylsham, and was driving to work when his van was hit.

Mr Ash was also an adventurer, having taken part in an expedition to cross the Antarctic in a revolutionary propeller-driven ski vehicle, and has also crossed the Gobi Desert in a kite buggy.

But Mr Ash’s life has been changed due to his loss of sight from the crash and the injuries he sustained.

He said in a statement: “This was a totally unnecessary collision resulting in the loss of two lives and has continued to change my life and that of my family.

“The injuries I sustained are life-changing and I am continuing my incredibly long road to recovery.

“Things that I took for granted before the crash such as driving, watching television, working and day-to-day activities are incredibly challenging and some of them are impossible due to my injuries.

“My injuries have inhibited my ability to be anywhere but familiar surroundings. When I am in unfamiliar locations, for example a restaurant or a social function, I become very anxious and worried.

“My wife has to guide me through these occasions both physically and mentally and this makes me upset. The effect this has on my mental wellbeing is huge.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved since that terrible day - from the people at the scene of the crash, the attending medical services and the outstanding treatment I received and continue to do so from the NHS.

“I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to my wider family and friends, including my customers for their ongoing support and well wishes.

“Today’s inquest marks the end of a comprehensive investigation by the police and as a family we wish to now continue our long road to recovery.”

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