Motorcyclist was speeding before fatal A47 crash, inquest hears

A novice motorcyclist killed in a high-speed crash on the A47 near Wisbech had ridden at 183mph earlier that evening, an inquest has heard.

Darrall Beckett travelled from Peterborough to King's Lynn in convoy with three friends and had discussed speeding in the pub before losing control and hitting the central reservation on his way home, the hearing was told.

The 46-year-old came off his Suzuki GSXR 750 on the dual carriageway at Walpole Highway at about 8.10pm on September 26 last year and was hit by a car as he lay injured, police officers said at the inquest.

Witness Matthew Hallam said he had set off for Lynn at about 5pm that day with Mr Beckett and their friend Darren Hopkins.

When they reached the Thorney bypass on the A47, all three sped up and Mr Beckett overtook the others to ride at the front, he said.


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At the pub in Lynn, the friends had a pint each and Mr Beckett told them he had 'topped his bike out' and gone 183mph. He also said he used his back brake and not his front, the inquest heard.

'He was definitely a novice rider,' Mr Hallam said. 'He had a high-powered bike.'

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The friends left at about 8pm and were 'speeding' on the A47 between King's Lynn and Wisbech when Mr Hallam realised he could not see Mr Beckett in his mirror, he told the hearing.

'It was quite eerily dark,' Mr Hallam said.

He felt something was wrong and later saw blue flashing lights heading towards Lynn, the inquest heard. Mr Hallam made his way back to the crash site, but learned Mr Beckett had been declared dead at the scene.

Lorry driver Colin Mayfield saw the three bikes travelling at 'excessive speed' before the crash.

The first two bikes, ridden by Mr Hopkins and Mr Hallam, overtook him but the third crossed the white line into the gravel on the central reservation and 'lost it,' he said.

'The rider and the bike parted company and he came sliding down the road,' Mr Mayfield said in evidence.

Crash investigator PC Paul Cant said Mr Beckett hit the safety wire and the posts on the central reservation and suffered a 'severe blow to the head' on the final post, where pieces of his helmet were found.

'The speed of the motorcycle was in the region of 66mph when it started to slide,' he said. 'In my opinion, it would have been significantly higher when it lost control.'

PC Cant said using the back brake was an 'inefficient and dangerous' method. Following too closely, high speed and heavy braking on the rear brake contributed to the crash, he told the inquest.

The inquest heard Mr Beckett had been hit by a blue Renault Megane after the crash. Driver Nezihi Balci said he had seen sparks as he overtook the lorry, but had not seen Mr Beckett lying in the road.

Recording his verdict, greater Norfolk assistant deputy coroner David Osborne said Mr Beckett, of South Street, Stanground, near Peterborough, had suffered multiple injuries and died as a result of an accident.

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