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Man died 17 years after crash which left him in vegetative state, inquest hears

PUBLISHED: 06:30 09 January 2020

The inquest was held at Norfolk coroner's court. Picture: David Bale

The inquest was held at Norfolk coroner's court. Picture: David Bale

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A man died 17 years after a car crash which left him in a permanent vegetative state, an inquest has heard.

Justin Newton, 39, died on September 13 2018, at the Priscilla Bacon Lodge, in Unthank Road, Norwich.

On November 20 2001, the then 22-year-old was involved in a car crash in Bowthorpe during which he suffered a severe brain injury, which left him in a permanent vegetative state.

At an inquest into Mr Newton's death, held at Norfolk Coroner's Court on Wednesday January 8, the court heard evidence from the police officer who carried out an investigation into the 2001 car crash and medical professionals involved in Mr Newton's treatment, including his end-of-life care.

The court heard how on November 20, 2001, Mr Newton had been the front seat passenger in a Vauxhall Senator which was seen overtaking another car at speed along Chapel Break Road in Bowthorpe.

The car was then seen to spin out of control and crash into a lamp post, with the passenger side, where Mr Newton was sitting, taking the force of the impact.

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PC Bush, from Norfolk Constabulary who investigated the crash, told the inquest he believed the collision had been caused by the driver losing control of the car after it finished the overtaking.

The court heard how after the crash, Mr Newton was admitted to hospital with a hypoxic brain injury.

He was later transferred to a specialist unit for complex neurological conditions, where he was given clinical help to breath and receive nutrition.

His family were told he was in a permanent vegetative state.

The inquest was told how in the intervening years, Mr Newton's conscious state and general health were continually monitored.

The court heard from Dr Kate Glashan who said in 2016 she met with Mr Newton's family to discuss the possibility of removing his life support.

She said: "The outcome was an unanimous agreement that it was in Mr Newton's best interests to proceed with an application to with draw artificial feeding and hydration."

Jacqueline Lake senior coroner for Norfolk gave a conclusion of death due to a road traffic collision.

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