Widow's road death campaign
A Norfolk woman who lost her husband in a horrific crash fears she will never find out how he died. Jackie Warby, 46, was not even allowed to see her husband's body after his lorry exploded in flames.
A Norfolk woman who lost her husband in a horrific crash fears she will never find out how he died.
Jackie Warby, 46, was not even allowed to see her husband's body after his lorry exploded in flames. And now she has been told that the only person who saw the accident will not be attending the inquest.
Stephen Warby, a driver with 28 years' experience, died instantly after in a head-on collision with a flower lorry at Northwold on March 7.
The inquest, which will officially establish how Mr Warby died, is due to be held on August 8 - but the Dutch driver of the flower lorry has told the coroner's office that he will not be returning to England.
As a result of her experiences, Mrs Warby, of Stow Bridge, near Downham Market, is starting a campaign to establish a database of foreign drivers. She said British lorries were routinely stopped and checked for roadworthiness, but it was much more difficult for foreign drivers' details to be checked.
Mrs Warby, who is starting a petition, said: “We have got to do something. I am not bitter, I just want this to be changed.”
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She said that her family desperately wanted closure from the inquest, but feared it would not happen without the key witness being there.
She said: “It is difficult for all of us. He is the key witness. He is the only one that knows what happened. He isn't even coming back and they don't have the power to make him. We think it is absolutely disgusting. It is totally, totally wrong.”
Mr Warby, 49, known as 'Bosso', worked for KGB Transport in Tilney St Lawrence and previously for GJ Chilvers in Wimbotsham. He had been married to Jackie, an administrator at Focus DIY in King's Lynn, for 23 years.
Mrs Warby said that the accident was so horrific that the first policeman on the scene had to take a week off work.
“I couldn't even see the body because it was so badly burnt. There was no personal effects, nothing. They took the two lorries away in skips because that was all that was left of them.”
The Freight Transport Association and the Road Haulage Association are calling for a system of pre-registration for lorries entering the UK, with details of the vehicle's ownership and place of business, date of the last roadworthiness test, and where it has come from and is going to.
Mrs Warby has already written to her MP, Christopher Fraser, and the South-West Norfolk MP has vowed to try to help. The problem is that although normally, witnesses can be fined or even imprisoned if they do not attend an inquest, the coroner's powers do not apply to foreign witnesses.
A spokesman for the Department of Constitutional Affairs, which regulates coroners' courts, said: “The coroner cannot force them, because they are in a foreign country. If they are in his jurisdiction he can compel them to attend. If they are out of his jurisdiction he can only try.”
Meanwhile Mrs Warby is in line for compensation for her husband's death, but she says that is not what she really wants.
“I know the inquest verdict will be accidental death. But I want to know what really happened.”