Fatal crash driver did not have licence

A MOTORIST whose passenger died in a crash was over the drink-drive limit and had not passed his test, an inquest heard.Ryan Jeffries lost control of his Rover 220 car on Berechurch Hall Road, Colchester, on August 30 last year.

A MOTORIST whose passenger died in a crash was over the drink-drive limit and had not passed his test, an inquest heard.

Ryan Jeffries lost control of his Rover 220 car on Berechurch Hall Road, Colchester, on August 30 last year. It left the road and hit a tree before overturning.

The inquest in Colchester heard yesterday his passenger, Martin Thew, 26, died at the scene as a result of head injuries.

Jeffries, of Magnolia Drive, Colchester, who is facing criminal proceedings over the incident, used his legal right yesterday to refuse to answer questions at the inquest.


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Pc David Howard, of Essex Police's traffic investigation unit, said he had arrived at the scene at about 2.15am, just over an hour after the accident.

He told the inquest that from his investigations and from reading Jeffries' police interviews it appeared the car had been travelling at about 55 miles per hour on the bend.

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Pc Howard said after the car had gone out of control, it had “slewed” across the road and bounced off a tree before coming to rest on its roof.

A test showed Jeffries had 45micrograms of alcohol in 100millilitres of breath - the legal limits is 35micrograms - and the inquest was told he did not have a full driving licence.

After the crash, Jeffries told police there had been a car heading towards him on the wrong side of the road, although the inquest heard his account had never been verified by witnesses.

Pc Howard said tests carried out on the car after the crahs had shown it was possible that Thew, of Gascoigne Road, Colchester, had not been wearing a seat-belt.

A pathologist concluded Thew had died as a result of head injuries sustained in the crash and Essex coroner, Caroline Beasley-Murray, recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Thew, a father-of-two, was a convicted criminal with a history of violence and public order offences.

As a 17-year-old, he was convicted in 1995 for his part in a fight that left a soldier dead.

Private James Tomlinson, of the Royal Anglian Regiment, was kicked to death outside the LA club in Military Road, Colchester, in July 1994.

He was handed an 18-month sentence for violent disorder after Mr Justice McCullough said Thew and three others all bore a responsibility for the soldier's death.

In August 1998 Thew wielded an axe at an Essex University student who was working at the Shell Garage in East Hill in Colchester. He pleaded guilty to robbery and was sentenced to six years.

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