A teenager who was the passenger in a car which crashed into a lorry and burst into flames died before the fire broke out, an inquest heard yesterday.

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The inquest into the death of Ellie Tweed was concluded in Norwich by deputy assistant coroner David Osborne.

Ellie, 18, of Ryelands, Hemsby, was the front-seat passenger of the Fiat Punto which was being driven by her friend Eleanor Coleman on November 1 last year.

The car went off the road and crashed into the back of a lorry which was parked in a layby on the A47 at North Burlingham at about 5.20am.

A post mortem examination indicated that Ellie had died from multiple injuries from the impact of the crash before the car went up into flames.

As previously reported, Coleman, who had been at a Halloween party that night and was said to be driving while under the influence of drugs, pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving. She was sentenced to 15 months custody in a young offenders’ institution and given a three-year driving ban.

Giving a narrative verdict, Mr Osborne said: “The balance of probability suggests that Ellie Louise Tweed was effectively dead before the fire took hold.

“In light of that evidence and also given the fact that there have been criminal proceedings to which the driver pleaded guilty, Ellie Louise Tweed died as a result of a road traffic collision when the vehicle in which she was the front seat passenger collided with a stationary HGV.

“The cause of death was multiple injuries.”

During the inquest, it was heard how the car was believed to be travelling at about 40 miles per hour along the single carriageway, which has a 50 mph speed limit, and that there was no evidence of the car braking before crashing into the HGV.

It was also heard how the lorry driver Peter Jolly had turned off all of the lights of his vehicle, in contradiction to regulations which requires sidelights to remained switched on, but whether or not that had contributed to the crash was difficult to ascertain.

Mr Osborne added: “I would like to offer my condolences to the family of Ellie Lousie Tweed for their loss in exceedindly tragic circumstances.”

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