Inquest hears how Acle death crash driver was spotted swerving in road

Recent picture of Amanda Jacobs who was killed in accident on the A47 Acle straight.

Recent picture of Amanda Jacobs who was killed in accident on the A47 Acle straight. - Credit: Archant

A car driven by a woman whose passenger died after it crashed into a water-filled dyke was seen swerving across the road moments before, an inquest heard.

The car being driven by Lydia Chiddle, a carer from Gorleston, flipped upside down into a water-filled dyke on the A47 Acle Straight after it hit an oncoming vehicle.

The woman she was looking after, Amanda Jacobs, 57, of Intwood Road, Cringleford, was sitting in the passenger seat and drowned.

An inquest in Norwich yesterday heard how Miss Chiddle, who survived, drifted into the opposite lane as another car approached.

Witness Douglas Leavold was driving behind her on the night of the accident at around 7pm on October 29, 2014.

He said: 'As I got closer I noticed she was not driving in a straight line. It was as though she was struggling to stay on the road.'

A subsequent police investigation found Miss Chiddle, 31, had crossed the centre line into the path of a Skoda Fabia.

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Tests also revealed she had cannabis in her system, which police said would have affected her driving ability.

It led to her being prosecuted for causing death by dangerous driving in August last year, where she was sentenced to 30 months in prison.

In a statement read out during the inquest, Miss Chiddle said: 'I have suffered enormous personal trauma [following the accident]. Amanda Jacobs was like a family member to me. I had become very fond of her and her partner.'

Senior coroner Jacqueline Lake concluded that Miss Jacobs, who suffered from Huntington's disease, a hereditary disorder of the central nervous system, died as a result of a road traffic accident.

Miss Jacobs' partner, Arthur Palmer, 71, had pleaded for a lenient sentence for Miss Chiddle during the court case.

Speaking after the inquest, he said: 'I loved them both. I have lost one, but then to see the other one suffering... She will never be the same after coming out of prison.'

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