Shropham road crash victim was on verge of a promising career, inquest told

A 24-year-old man who tragically died in a road crash was on the verge of a promising career, an inquest heard yesterday.

Sam Barnes, of Rockland Road, Shropham, near Attleborough, was driving a blue Ford Focus along the B1136 in Haddiscoe when his car mounted the verge and overturned at about 9am on August 13 last year. He died at the scene.

A Norwich inquest heard that Mr Barnes was about to start a new job as an engineer with Rolls Royce Aerospace. At the time of the crash he was travelling to Fritton Lake to take part in a triathlon swimming event.

There were no witnesses to the crash and Norfolk coroner William Armstrong said: 'There's no explanation as to what happened, but clearly something happened that caused this tragic event.

'Sam was a popular, able young man who was extremely well qualified and was about to start a new job. He was on the verge of a promising career.

'He was also actively involved in fundraising which was much to his credit. This was a tragic loss.'

Mr Barnes' mother Caroline told the inquest that her son left their home at about 8.10am on August 13, but was not in any particular hurry to get to the triathlon event.

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She said he had gained a masters degree in mechanical engineering from Loughborough university and was looking forward to his new job.

Stewart Robinson told the inquest that he was driving a Land Rover Discovery that morning and came across the accident.

He managed to extract Mr Barnes from the car, with the help of a colleague, but there was no sign of life, he said.

Pc Wendy Biddle, collision investigator, said the Ford Focus had mounted the verge, entered a field, and had overturned.

She said: 'It's unclear why the driver failed to keep the vehicle on the road.

'One plausible explanation is that while driving at an inappropriate speed for the road layout and conditions, Mr Barnes lost control of the vehicle and it left the road.'

Mr Armstrong recorded a verdict of death as the result of a road traffic incident.

Following the accident last year, Mr Barnes' family paid tribute to him in the Eastern Daily Press.

The family said in a statement: 'Frustrating, certainly, mischievous, of course, but mainly loving, kind, caring, funny and deeply, deeply missed, Sam Barnes was stolen from his family and friends on August 13.

'A passionate snowboarder Sam was also at home on the hockey pitch, cycling or running and had a natural talent with a camera. Life really wasn't big enough to contain Sam's endless zest for it.

'There was probably no such thing as a simple night out with Sam. White water rafting sounds good, but white water rafting in Patagonia sounds better. The world was out there to be explored and Sam was up for giving it a go.

'Sam also had an immensely caring nature. Whilst often not immediately obvious on the outside he cared deeply about his family and friends. He was a constant source of comfort to his sister and mother. He was always there when needed.

'For all those that knew and loved him words cannot express their sense of loss.'

david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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