max temp: 13°C

min temp: 10°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Suffolk: Inquiry after ‘suicidal’ crash man dies while awaiting sentence for seriously injuring family

12:18 14 January 2014

Inquiry into suicidal man

Inquiry into suicidal man's death while awaiting sentence


An inquiry is under way after a suicidal man who seriously injured a family of five in a car crash died in the care of mental health professionals before his sentencing.


David Smith took his mother’s VW Golf without permission before ramming it into a Toyota Yaris, in an attempt to take his own life at the A11 Elveden crossroads, near Thetford, on January 5 last year.

When The 29-year-old appeared before Ipswich Crown Court to plead guilty to dangerous driving and aggravated vehicle taking he was said to have had a morbid fascination with killing himself.

Although Smith sustained relatively minor injuries, he left the occupants of the Toyota requiring emergency treatment.

A girl, aged 13, suffered a dislocated hip. Another girl, aged 15, sustained a fractured arm, a bleed on the brain and a fractured facial bone, while a 19-year-old woman had a fractured leg.

A 49-year-old man had fractures to the base of his spine, legs and chest, while a 48-year-old woman sustained fractures and a dislocated elbow. All were from Gillingham in Kent.

After Smith’s guilty plea in August he was released into the residential care of mental health specialists in Coventry.

It was intended that he be brought back to Ipswich Crown Court, but the sentencing never went ahead. The case was subsequently closed.

It has now emerged Smith, formerly of Central Avenue, Coventry, died on October 11 last year at University Hospital in Clifford Bridge Road, Coventry.

At the time Smith – who was originally arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, was being treated by the Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust.

A full inquest is still to held, although a hearing is scheduled to take place at Coventry Magistrates Court next Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for the coroner in Coventry said the initial cause of death has been given as external compression of the neck.

An inquiry has also begun at the health trust.

A spokesman for the Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust, said: “Any unexpected death of a patient in our care will be the subject of a formal, internal investigation in which we try to learn any lessons that might arise from the events that took place.

“We will also co-operate fully with any external investigation that police, the coroner or any other agency need to carry out.

“At present, we are awaiting the outcome of the coroner’s inquest into this case, and so have no further comment to make at this time.”

At Smith’s plea hearing, his barrister Steven Dyble, the court his client had suffered from schizophrenia for the last decade and had a “morbid fascination” with killing himself.

The court was also told Smith was trying to kill himself at the moment the A11 crash took place.

Judge David Goodin adjourned the case for psychiatric reports to be prepared, with a view to the court making a hospital order under the Mental Health Act.

Smith, who only had a provisional driving licence, also pleaded guilty to driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence and having no insurance.



Police closed Felixstowe Road, Ipswich.

A man has been taken to hospital after the motorcycle he was riding collided with a van.

Travellers in Jaywick.

A group of travellers today returned to a site they had previously camped on in Jaywick - but were stopped in their tracks.

The large scale police operation in Potash Road, Wyverstone.

A village stalwart and chairman of a Suffolk parish council hid hundreds of illegal guns in a secret room at his house, a court heard.

The ice skating rink currently being installed in the Arc shopping centre in Bury St Edmunds

Limited parking capacity in Bury St Edmunds is set to be boosted by 420 extra spaces over the festive period after local brewer Greene King offered free use of its staff car park at weekends.

Kujtin Rexha was jailed for 11 years at Chelmsford Crown Court

Braintree man Kujtin Rexha has been jailed for 11 years for rape and holding a 17-year-old girl against her will for two and a half months.

Ben Wilson, 20, set fire to the Braintree Emergency Night Shelter in Braintree High Street in February

A man who set fire to a homeless hostel in Braintree, which forced a resident to jump naked from a second floor window, has been jailed for five years.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder

Property search

e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Digital Edition

Read the East Anglian Daily Times e-edition today E-edition

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24