Crash victim, 14, walked in front of car

A TEENAGER wearing a portable music player walked out in front of a speeding driver and was killed, an inquest heard.

James Hore

A TEENAGER wearing a portable music player walked out in front of a speeding driver and was killed, an inquest heard.

Jordan Bell, 14, was wearing her iPod when she stepped into Layer Road, close to her Colchester home, on Good Friday this year.

The teenager was struck almost instantly by Mark Batten, who was driving his Golf GTI away from the town centre at about 4.50pm.

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An inquest at Chelmsford Coroner's Court was yesterday told that Batten was travelling at nearly 40pmh in the 30mph speed limit at the point of collision.

However a road traffic expert told the inquest that the accident could have been avoided if Jordan had looked up before she stepped into the road.

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One witness described Batten as going “too fast”, but others said the youngster had not looked when she crossed.

The teenager was rushed to Colchester General Hospital but the Alderman Blaxill School pupil died shortly after arrival from multiple injuries.

Batten, who lives in Colchester, is due to appear at the town's magistrates court later this month to face charges of careless driving and speeding.

The 28-year-old refused to give evidence to the inquest, which he was entitled to do due to his upcoming court case.

Pc Charles Harris carried out an accident investigation and concluded a pedestrian would have had a view of cars up to 200 metres away.

He said a speed specialist brought in to look at the accident information concluded Batten was travelling at slightly less than 40mph at the point of impact.

Evidence taken from the scene showed Batten did attempt to break and to swerve out of Jordan's way, colliding with the traffic island in the centre of the road.

He said Batten had been unable to avoid the collision and concluded the 14-year-old had the “greater opportunity to avoid the incident” by not stepping into the road.

Deborah Hollington was in her grey BMW heading towards Colchester and saw the popular teenager “head down”, “striding along”

She said Jordan “just walked out in front of the car” and that she had not seen her look left or right.

Her statement given to police said: “She did not stop, she did not hesitate, she did not stop or slow down or look before crossing.”

Her friend and passenger, Janie Becher, , said she had seen Jordan was wearing an iPod.

She said: “I thought I saw the car swerve very slightly to the right, but there were bollards to the right and I got the impression he could not go anywhere.”

She said Batten had been driving along “in a seemingly ordinary manner”.

But pedestrian Anthony Pooley said: “A car came past me and I thought at that exact instant, 'he is going to hit her' because he is going too fast and the fact that she did not look.

“She was just looking straight ahead and seemed to be fiddling with something in her ear.”

Essex Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray recorded a verdict of accidental death.

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