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Call for speed cameras on killer road

PUBLISHED: 20:47 26 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:06 22 October 2010

Speed cameras could be installed on a killer stretch of Fenland road - but not until next year at the earliest. A coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death on five people who died when two cars they were travelling in plunged into a notorious stretch of Fenland river.

Speed cameras could be installed on a killer stretch of Fenland road - but not until next year at the earliest.

A coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death on five people who died when two cars they were travelling in plunged into a notorious stretch of Fenland river.

William Morris said he would be sending Cambridgeshire County Council a report on the inquests into the deaths of two drivers and three passengers on the C85 which runs along the flood bank of the Forty Foot Drain at Ramsey Forty Foot, near Chatteris.

Driver error was found to be the cause of both accidents which happened within just a few weeks of each other on a notorious stretch of road which runs along a steep bank which slopes into up to 20ft of water.

The first crash claimed the lives of a father and son just days before last Christmas when their car went into the water.

Three Portuguese workers died in the second incident when their car clipped an on-coming vehicle as it overtook a lorry at 80mph before also crashing into the water.

Mr Morris said: “In these two inquests I have dealt with tragically the deaths of no fewer than five people.

“The evidence I have heard is that whilst the road is well marked with signs indicating the speed limit of 50mph, there are no speed cameras.”

After the hearings county council spokesman Mark Miller said it was considering putting in speed cameras along Forty Foot Bank.

But any decision on funding for the new cameras, which could cost up to £400,000, would not be made until December at the earliest.

Mr Miller said: “It is clear from these inquests that speed and driver error played a major part in the deaths of these people and our own investigations show motorists are driving up to 118mph down there in a 50mph limit.”

Dean Hawes, 28, and his seven-year-old son Jordan, of Gull Way, Chatteris, died after the car they were in plunged into the drain on December 20 last year.

The inquest heard Mr Hawes clipped a crash barrier as he negotiated a bend on the road and lost control of his Mondeo, which plunged into the water between 5.20pm and 6pm.

Both father and son had died as a result of drowning, the inquest heard. PC Chris Breeze, the investigating officer, said he was unable to say how fast the car had been travelling, but said the car would not have needed to have been travelling at any great speed.

Earlier an inquest heard how three Portuguese factory workers died after the car they were travelling in overtook a lorry at speeds of 80mph before crashing in to an on-coming car and plunging into the drain.

Driver Jose Marmeleira, 49, and his backseat passengers Cidalina De Oliveira, 55, and Carlos Condeco, 45, all from Peterborough, died from drowning as a result of the accident on the morning of February 1.

Mr Marmeleira had attempted to overtake a skip lorry which was travelling at around 50mph.

His son Miguel, who had been travelling in the passenger seat of his father's Hyundai Lantra, told the inquest they had been travelling at speeds of 80mph.

He told the inquest as his father had begun to overtake he saw another vehicle coming towards them, they tried to get back onto their own carriageway, but struck the on-coming Vauxhall Cavalier.

Miguel Marmeleira managed to escape from the vehicle as it went off the road and into the drain, but the other three did not.

North and East Cambridgeshire coroner Mr Morris recorded a verdict of accidental death in all cases.


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