Man swerved car into path of lorry on A17, inquest hears
PUBLISHED: 12:14 26 June 2020 | UPDATED: 14:44 26 June 2020
A man in his 30s died after the car he was driving collided with an HGV, giving the lorry driver no time to avoid the crash, an inquest has heard.
Steven Botten, 30, from Tydd St Mary, died on the A17 at Terrington St Clement on December 30 last year.
At an inquest into his death, held at Norfolk Coroner’s Court on Friday, June 26, Jacqueline Lake, senior coroner for Norfolk, read evidence from Mr Botten’s former partner Laura Botten, Nicholas Backshall the driver of the HGV and a forensic collision investigation report.
The court heard how Mr Botten and his wife had separated in October 2019, but had kept in regular contact.
Ms Botten described Mr Botten as a likeable person, and said he “never took anything too seriously but unfortunately did not share or discuss his feelings”.
Ms Botten said she first became concerned about Mr Botten’s mental health in late November when he made a comment about not wanting to live.
The court heard how over the course of December and on the day of his death, Mr Botten sent Ms Botten further messages indicating he may attempt to end his life.
Ms Botten said: “Steven is greatly missed. He was a good and well-liked person, but he struggled to cope with his emotions. Our sincere best wishes and apologies go out to everyone who was involved, assisted at the scene and has been impacted as a result of this tragedy.”
Mr Backshall told the court how on December 30, he had been driving home along the A17 at about 7.30pm, when his vehicle collided with Mr Botten’s Ford Focus and left the road.
He said: “I do not believe I had any time to brake and there was nothing I could do.”
A forensic collision investigation report carried out by PC James Hutchins found no fault with either Mr Botten’s or Mr Backshall’s vehicle.
Both drivers also tested negative for alcohol or drugs.
Closing the inquest, Ms Lake gave a conclusion of suicide. She said she believed there had been no opportunity for Mr Backshall to avoid the collision.
Following the inquest, Arlette Labiche, Mr Botten’s aunt, said: “Steven was loved and will be greatly missed by his family and friends. He had always been known by family and friends to have a carefree and friendly nature.”
• If you need help and support, call Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust’s First Response helpline 0808 196 3494 or the Samaritans on 113 123. Both services are available 24 hours 7 days a week. You can also download the Stay Alive app on Apple & Android.
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