Stepfather of student killed in Methwold Hythe crash found her and her boyfriend dead less than a mile from home
- Credit: Archant
The stepfather of a young woman killed in a collision found his stepdaughter and her boyfriend dead less than a mile from his home.
Student Katie-Louise Rowland, 17, and boyfriend Daniel Eyre, 21, were killed in a car crash on Severalls Road in Methwold Hythe when it came off the road and crashed into a tree.
It happened between 7pm on Sunday, August 14 and 7am on Monday, August 15.
And an inquest in Norwich heard this morning how Miss Rowland's stepfather, Daniel Geddes-Green, found the couple when he went out to look for them.
A statement given by Mr Geddes-Green, and read out by senior coroner Jacqueline Lake, said Mr Eyre, who worked as a joiner, had been stopping at their Severalls Road home for the weekend.
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He said: 'I was out in the front garden at around 7pm, they said they were going out to get something to eat.'
Mr Geddes-Green said he heard them say they were going to Pizza Hut, and the nearest branch was in King's Lynn.
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He was then woken up by his wife, Joanne, at 2am, who had realised the couple had not come home.
'Joanne tried phoning them but both were not answering,' he said. But he had not been worried as he thought they had stayed at Mr Eyre's house in Raby Avenue, King's Lynn, instead.
However, he said: 'When I woke up for work they had not returned, and so I left early to try and find them.
'I came across them in the car less than a mile from my home, I then realised they were dead.'
Evidence from Norfolk Police said investigations at the scene suggested Mr Eyre - who had been driving his green Mini Cooper and had only passed his test two weeks before the crash - had realised he was going too fast as he approached a bend. They said it appeared he had braked heavily and lost control, before crashing into a tree.
Evidence was also heard from Jack Daniel, who was visiting a friend in Methwold Hythe on August 14. He said he saw the Mini Cooper travel through the village at around 40mph, above the speed limit of 30mph, before accelerating away.
Both Miss Rowland and Mr Eyre were pronounced dead at the scene, at around 7.20am on August 15, meaning the couple could have been in the car for several hours before emergency services were alerted.
Postmortems showed Mr Eyre died of a fracture to the cervical spine (neck) with trauma to the spinal cord.
While Miss Rowland died from a brain injury, due to a fracture of the skull.
Both medical causes of death were due to the collision.
Giving a verdict of accidental death, Ms Lake said: 'This is clearly the very tragic loss of two young lives, which reinforces the need for careful driving at a safe speed sufficient to the conditions.'
At the time, Miss Rowland's family said she was a 'fun-loving happy girl who lived life to the full', saying she had a 'big smile and even bigger heart'.
They described her as 'the best sister, daughter, granddaughter and niece that we could ever have wished for'.
They added: 'Katie will always be remembered for her choice words and mumbling, 'there's never anything to eat in this house' (i.e. no Mars bars or McDonalds).
'She has left us with a hole that no one will ever fill. Sleep tight sweetheart. Until we meet again x.'
Mr Eyre's family described him as 'one in a million' and paid tribute to his 'loving and caring ways'.
His family – mother Valerie, father David, three sisters Kylie, Charlene and Natasha and grandad Charlie – said: 'He will be missed by many people, never be forgotten and always have a place within our hearts. He was a family lad, always so close to his mum, dad, sisters and grandad.
'He was such a handy man and when it came to helping someone he would always be there if we needed him. He loved spending time with close family members and his girlfriend Katie-Louise.
'Fly high baby, we love you so much. Words cannot explain how much you mean to us all.'