A motorcyclist who died after becoming engulfed in flames during a crash was travelling twice the legal speed limit moments before the accident, an inquest has heard.

Harley Wilford, 24, of Ketts Hill, Necton, was killed after his Yamaha motorbike hit a Citroen Dispatch van. 

It happened at around 8.30pm on the B1110 near to the junction with the B1145 Back Lane and the King's Head Hotel, North Elmham, near Dereham, on August 21, 2022. 

At an inquest at Norfolk Coroner’s Court on Thursday, April 20, Mr Wilford’s mother, Samantha Wilford, described him as a “confident rider” and one who was good and safe while out on his bike.

His friends nicknamed him “the sensible one” when it came to his riding.

However, evidence at the hearing suggested he had been speeding through the village just before the crash.

Eastern Daily Press: Norfolk Coroner's CourtNorfolk Coroner's Court (Image: Newsquest)

A witness statement from Jamie Reed, who was standing around 15ft away from where the incident happened, said: “The only way I could describe [the accident] was like a bomb going off. 

“The bike ended up on the ground near the back of the van and was on fire. 

“It all happened so quick. 

“The entire incident lasted a split second.” 

Norfolk Constabulary police constable Kerry Harman, a forensic collision investigator, attended the scene of the accident and gave evidence in court. 

She said: “The incident location itself is not covered by any CCTV and neither of the vehicles involved in the collision were fitted with dashboard cameras.  

“However, CCTV footage had been obtained from the Londis store, approximately 77m prior to the collision. 

“The motorcycle is seen to travel along the B1110 in the direction of the collision scene. 

“I was able to calculate that the motorcycle’s speed equated to approximately 58mph to 60mpr on that period of footage I had.” 

Eastern Daily Press: Harley WilfordHarley Wilford (Image: Supplied)

In her conclusion, PC Harman added: “Both the motorcycle and Mr Wilford caught fire. 

“Mr Wilford died from the injuries he sustained in the collision. 

“No pre-collision defects were apparent in either of the vehicles, that could account for or contribute to the collision. 

“Immediately prior to the collision, the motorcycle was approaching the junction at speeds between 58 and 60mpr. This was well in excess of the 30mph speed limit.” 

He died at the scene.

Mr Wilford, who was born on January 12, 1998, in Norwich, was from a large family consisting of four brothers and three sisters. 

He worked as a panel beater and paint sprayer, a job he had done since leaving college in 2014, and had recently been talking about living together with his long-term girlfriend.  

He had also wanted to get his full motorcycle license and had been riding them since he was 17 years old.

Eastern Daily Press: The B1110 at North Elmham, near DerehamThe B1110 at North Elmham, near Dereham (Image: Google Street)

In her statement, Mrs Wilford paid tribute to her son.

“Harvey was a kind and caring boy," she said.

“He used to help everybody. He was caring and he was a happy boy. He was also so laid back. He was the sort of person that always wanted to help everyone. 

“He was happy with everything in his life. 

“Harley loved his Xbox and computer games. He also loved watching [television] series. He was also into off-roading. 

“His loss has left a huge hole in our family, and we still keep thinking he’s just going to walk back through the door. We can’t come to terms with the fact he won’t and wish he was still with us. 

“He was taken far too soon but will always be remembered."

At the inquest, the medical cause of death following a post mortem was given as multiple trauma due to a road traffic collision. 

Assistant coroner, Johanna Thompson, concluded that Mr Wilford died from a road traffic collision.