Inquest told how Dereham teenager was ‘careful and confident motorcycle rider’

Ellise Owen with her son Warren Ellise Owen with her son Warren

Friday, November 23, 2012
7:57 AM

The mother of a teenage motorcycle enthusiast who died after crashing into a tree said a coroner who described him as a “careful and confident rider” has given her closure.

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Popular former Dereham air cadet Warren Owen had recently started work as a serviceman at RAF Honington when his blue Yamaha came off the A1075 at Griston at the last of a series of bends at about 10.20am on May 26, 2012.

Two motorists who Mr Owen overtook shortly before the crash yesterday told Norfolk Coroner’s Court it was a dry sunny day with excellent visibility, but gave conflicting accounts about Mr Owen’s speed.

Anthony Bowd said: “As I was approaching the long straight I could hear a motorcycle behind the other cars, revving in a fairly low gear. When we reached the straight I accelerated to 55mph and the motorcyclist come by me and went down the straight at what I thought was a rather excessive speed.

“When I entered the bend at the end of the straight I discovered the body in the middle of the road, which was a very devastating experience.”

However, another motorist John Foster said the teenager “did nothing untoward”, waiting until a straight section of road before overtaking him and even raising his hand to acknowledge him after going past.

PC Donna Flannagan, who was first on the scene, said she gave Mr Owen chest compressions before ambulance and air ambulance crews arrived, but a post mortem found he died of multiple injuries due to a road traffic collision.

Serious crash investigator PC Simon Hall told the inquest he found no mechanical faults with the bike, which was the only vehicle involved.

He said a device designed to limit the motorcycle’s power, to comply with restrictions regularly imposed of riders during their first two years on the road, had been removed in January 2011.

However, PC Hall said he would have expected Mr Owen to lose control at an earlier bend if he had carried excessive speed from the straight section of the road, and added that wear at the edge of Mr Owen’s tyres suggested he was a careful and confident rider.

Deputy Norfolk coroner Jacqueline Lake said alcohol was not a factor and she was not satisfied speed was relevant to the crash, and recorded a verdict that Mr Owen died as a result of a motorcycle collision with a tree.

She added: “I wish to say that Mr Owen lived for motorbikes and had a real passion for riding them and it is a real tragedy that his life was cut short this year.”

Speaking after the inquest, Mr Owen’s mother Ellise said: “I’m glad that they acknowledged that he was a safe and responsible driver and speed was not the cause of the accident. For me, that just gives me some closure that he was not being silly and I’m glad that that has been acknowledged.”

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