Family to get death crash answers

THE family of a motorcyclist killed by part of a falling bridge have been told their long battle for answers about the tragedy is finally over.Justin Barker, 26, died in a freak accident when he was hit by falling debris - caused by another car crash – as he travelled on the A120 in September 2001.

THE family of a motorcyclist killed by part of a falling bridge have been told their long battle for answers about the tragedy is finally over.

Justin Barker, 26, died in a freak accident when he was hit by falling debris - caused by another car crash – as he travelled on the A120 in September 2001.

An inquest showed the bridge in question had an incomplete weld and an expert was critical of its construction.

Mr Barker's sister, Kathryn Kent, demanded to know why her brother had died. Until yesterday, she had spent 21 months campaigning for the Highways Agency to release information about the crash.


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The agency launched an enquiry using the specialist Transport Research Laboratory, which was responsible for investigating the Selby rail disaster.

Initially the report was due for release in September 2002 before it was put back to the end of the year.

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The Highways Agency then pushed the report back to February before saying it could not be published because of the possibility of legal action from the family.

But Mrs Kent, of Main Road, Dovercourt, has now been told by Under Secretary of State for Transport, David Jamieson, the report will arrive imminently.

Mrs Kent, said: "This is excellent as all my questions will be answered. Right now I am ecstatic. When I was told I couldn't really speak and thought 'is this really happening?'

"It has been nearly two years that we have been waiting for the report.

Mrs Kent, who has given her support to the East Anglian Daily Times campaign to upgrade the A120, added she felt angry with the Highways Agency.

She also thanked Harwich MP Ivan Henderson for his calls for the Highways Agency to release the report, as well as the EADT for helping to publicise her family's plight.

Mr Henderson said: "It is good news and something they deserve. They just got what they rightly should have had in the first place.

"It is still a tragedy and there will never be a good outcome to what happened but at least the family can now see the results of the investigation and make sure, if changes need to be made, that everything that should be done is done.

"It is very important to the family to see the results of the investigation but also a matter of public interest for everyone to know the state of the bridges.

"I just hope that once they have seen it that they can have some kind of peace of mind. My thoughts are still with the family."

A spokeswoman for the Highways Agency said: "We will be writing to Mrs Kent with a copy of the report."

She added that if the report's findings showed work needed to be done the Highways Agency would act accordingly.

An inquest into Mr Barker's death heard how the driver of a Vauxhall Cavalier lost control on a slip road, which connects the Harwich-bound A120 to the A133 at Great Bromley on September 1, 2001.

The car careered off the road, across a gravel drain and a grass verge and mounted a crash barrier, along which it slid like a "monorail" for more than 40 metres.

The car then hit a section of the bridge, which was knocked 20 metres and hit Mr Barker on the A120 below.

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