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Motorcyclist Stewart Mackenzie died after hitting pheasant in Blythburgh

PUBLISHED: 18:45 08 March 2017 | UPDATED: 08:09 09 March 2017

Stewart Mackenzie, right, pictured with his friend Craig Alexander at the Westleton Barrel Fair.

Stewart Mackenzie, right, pictured with his friend Craig Alexander at the Westleton Barrel Fair.

Archant

A much loved and respected community stalwart from Westleton who died in a motorcycle accident in Blythburgh is thought to have hit a pheasant before crashing into a hedgerow.

The coroner sitting at an inquest into the death of 50-year-old Stewart Mackenzie, of Westleton, heard the motorcyclist was riding his BMW 1200 along the B1125 Dunwich Road on Tuesday, September 27 when he lost control of the bike and hit a hedgerow.

He was rushed to Ipswich Hospital but died a short time later.

PC Kevin Stark of Suffolk police’s Serious Collision Investigation Team, told the inquest, in Ipswich, that he believed Mr Mackenzie had hit a pheasant while riding.

“It was a nice day and wouldn’t have proved any great problems,” he said, “I am a keen motorcyclist myself and would have enjoyed riding on that day.”

“The road surface was in good condition.

“The first thing I noticed was a notable quantity of feathers on the road surface.

“In my experience a feather doesn’t remain on the road very long, indicating it was quite fresh.

“As I continued to walk along I found entrails of a pheasant.

“A bit further on I saw a fresh carcass and it was still warm to the touch.”

PC Spark said he also spotted a single tire print in the offside verge 50m away from the patch of feathers.

“Soil had been thrown into the carriageway and three trees that all bore very fresh damage at various points.

“Close to this I found some motorcycle panels that matched Mr Mackenzie’s motorcycle.”

Assistant corner Kevin McCarthy said a post mortem examination revealed Mr Mackenzie had died from multiple injuries including a skull fracture.

Following his death, tributes were paid to the retired computer specialist, described by Westleton parish Council chairman Arlette Smith as “one of the nicest people I’ve ever met”.

“The sad thing is that his biggest passion in life has killed him,” she said.

The Union flag at Westleton’s village hall was lowered as a mark of respect following his death.

Roy Swindell, 82, said he was a “central part of the village”.

“Everyone loved him, he said.
“He was very generous, very gentle person.

“He was much, much loved and it has shocked the village.”

Mr McCarthy concluded Mr Mackenzie’s death was accidental.

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