Man who survived motorcycle crash died from Covid, inquest told

County Hall, Norwich.

An inquest into the death of Andrew Cox was held at the Norfolk Coroner's Office at County Hall. - Credit: Denise Bradley

A man who survived a motorcycle crash that left him with serious brain injuries died after contracting coronavirus, an inquest heard.

Christopher Taaffe, 40, had been left unable to live an independent life as result of the injuries sustained in the horrific accident in 2009.

He was living at a residential care home in Attleborough when he contracted the virus two weeks after receiving the second dose of the Covid vaccine.

An inquest at Norfolk Coroner’s Court was told he spent 31 days on a ventilator in critical care at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital being treated for Covid before his death on November 10 last year.

In statements read out at the hearing, two passengers in cars overtaken by Mr Taaffe on Lopham Road at Kenninghall shortly before his accident 12 years ago recalled how he had lost control of his motorcycle, hitting a grass bank and a stone pillar. 

His bike also struck a passing cyclist before bursting into flames. Mr Taaffe was airlifted to Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

Mr Taaffe’s brother told the inquest his sibling's long-term brain injuries had meant he used an electric wheelchair and relied on support from carers, including accompanying him on trips to the gym, shopping, Norwich and the coast. 

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But he still enjoyed “interacting with people and banter” and had a good sense of humour, he added.

“Chris would have lunch out once a week and twice a day every day he would do a couple of laps around Attleborough,” he said.

“He became a familiar sight with people in town and often bumped into people who he knew from before his accident.” 

In a narrative conclusion, Norfolk assistant coroner Catherine Wood said his death had been the result of a combination of natural causes against a background of the significant injuries he sustained in the 2009 accident.

“It is known that those with underlying health conditions are more susceptible to the effects of Covid-19. I also note that he’d had two vaccinations," she said.

"But unfortunately he sustained some exposure to the virus and he was admitted to Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital where, despite treatment including intensive care support, he sadly didn’t recover.”