Photographer killed in crash died of 'severe injuries' to heart, inquest hears
PUBLISHED: 17:44 20 August 2019 | UPDATED: 09:12 21 August 2019
A Norfolk photographer killed in a four-vehicle pile-up died from injuries to the left of her chest and her heart, an inquest heard.
Elizabeth Handy, of Low Road, Bressingham, died following a four-vehicle crash on the A1066 in Garboldisham on March 5, 2018.
The grandmother-of-four, a popular photographer, was killed after the crash, which saw the BMW 320 she was a passenger returning from London in collide with a Seat Ibiza and a Land Rover Freelander just before 8.10am, close to the Old Diss Road.
An inquest into her death was held at Norfolk Coroner's Court in Norwich this afternoon (Tuesday, August 20).
It heard that the crash saw Mrs Handy's husband Charles, who was driving the silver car on the 60mph road, collide with the rear of the silver Seat and steer into the path of an oncoming Land Rover Freelander.
The black Land Rover spun into a collision with a white Mercedes Sprinter van, which had slowed to turn right onto Smallworth Lane.
The BMW sustained severe damage to the passenger side, where Mrs Handy sat. The inquest heard her husband had taken over driving at Newmarket when she became tired.
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Area coroner Yvonne Blake heard the vehicle was "extensively crumpled, dented, and comprehensively damaged".
According to a post-mortem examination report by Dr Ray Lonsdale, histopathologist at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), Mrs Handy, 77, died of "severe multiple injuries" to the left of her chest, including "lacerations to the heart".
The three other vehicles involved were also damaged, and the driver of the Land Rover sustained "quite severe injuries".
There were no other fatalities.
Ms Blake heard in a report from roads policing officer PC Paul McKay that no vehicles had mechanical defects which may have contributed to the collision. She also heard how the drivers' breath samples showed no alcohol.
The inquest heard Mr Handy later surrendered his licence, and told police he had "looked down at the clock" before looking up to see two vehicles 15m ahead.
Ms Blake heard he told police he had no time to brake, and had to steer into the right-hand lane.
The report said Mr Handy "failed to react appropriately", which could have been sleep-related or due to a distraction in or outside of the vehicle, but that the reason remained unclear.
She concluded Mrs Handy died as a result of a road traffic collision, and expressed her condolences to her family.