Teenager died of injuries six days after crash

Charlie Turner 17, who died in crash in MIddleton, King's Lynn

Charlie Turner 17, who died after a crash in Middleton, near King's Lynn - Credit: Norfolk police

Three teenagers had been taking so-called laughing gas before a car crash in which one of them suffered fatal injuries, an inquest was told.

Student Charlie Turner, 17,  from Thieves Bridge Road, Watlington, was the rear passenger in a Ford Fiesta which was being driven by his friend Harvey Cross when it left the road on a bend and overturned on Station Road, Middleton.

An inquest into Mr Turner's death at County Hall in Norwich today heard Mr Cross, Mr Turner and front seat passenger Bradley Proctor had inhaled nitrous oxide shortly before the crash, which happened at around 7.47pm on April 22, 2020. 

Mr Cross and Mr Proctor were helped from the car by passers-by. Both suffered minor injuries.

Mr Turner, who had not been wearing a seatbelt,  was unconscious and lying on the roof of the car before he too was lifted out before emergency services arrived.

Mr Turner spent six days in critical care in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where he passed away on April 28.

Senior coroner for Norfolk Jacqueline Lake heard the cause of death was a hypoxic brain injury and cardio-respiratory arrest.

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In a statement Mr Proctor said the three had bought nitrous oxide capsules in King's Lynn before driving to Leziate, where they inhaled the gas in a layby.

He said the effects of the drug were short-lived and he did not think it had affected Mr Cross's driving. 

Mr Cross later pleaded guilty to causing the death of Mr Turner by careless driving and in July was given 16 weeks custody, suspended for a year,and a 12-month driving ban.

Norwich Crown Court heard there was no evidence the effects of nitrous oxide played a part in the accident.

After the hearing, Mr Turner's mother Victoria said: "The effect of his death has been devastating for our family and his friends changing our lives forever."

A police report read out at the inquest said Mr Cross was an inexperienced driver at the time of the crash and may have taken the bend too fast, although he was not exceeding the 60mph limit on that stretch of road.

It added: "Had [Mr Turner] been wearing a seatbelt, the specific circumstances in which he died may not have occurred."

Coroner Mr Lake concluded his death was the result of a road traffic collision.