Man struck by lorry on A14 was ‘confused’ through lack of sleep, inquest hears

Daniel Cole, aged 38 from Cambridge, was a pedestrian kiled at the scene of the crash on the A14 nea

Daniel Cole, aged 38 from Cambridge, was a pedestrian kiled at the scene of the crash on the A14 near Newmarket Picture: PROVIDED BY FAMILY - Credit: Archant

An expectant father who was hit by a lorry while walking along the A14 near Newmarket was ‘confused’ through taking cocaine, a lack of sleep and freezing temperatures, an inquest has heard.

Daniel Cole, 38, from Chesterton in Cambridgeshire, died on January 28 after he was hit by a HGV on the eastbound carriageway.

An inquest into his death at Suffolk Coroner's Court in Ipswich heard officers were initially called to reports of a man walking across A14 wearing dark clothing just before 11pm.

Minutes later, they received reports someone had been hit.

Giving evidence, Andrew Fossey, forensics collision investigator, said there was nothing the driver of the lorry could have done to avoid the collision as he would have only seen him 1.5 seconds before the impact. He said the lorry was travelling at 55mph, 5mph slower than the speed limit for HGVs, and it did not have any defects.

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Senior Coroner for Suffolk, Nigel Parsley, said the cause of Mr Cole's death was head and chest injuries and that he would have died instantly.

The inquest heard Mr Cole had taken cocaine prior to the collision and was suffering from a lack of sleep.

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He had visited the White Horse Pub in Exning on the night of his death where he sat at the bar, shivering cold. The temperature that night was -0.5C.

A statement from Landlord Jack Welford said he had "pupils the size of discs" and that he looked "wired".

Mr Cole's mother Dawn told the inquest she thought Daniel had been out of sorts in the days before his death, saying she believed he was suffering from depression.

Concluding the inquest, Mr Parsley said: "It is clear Daniel put himself into an incredibly dangerous situation.

"It is a major road, he was wearing dark clothing and it was pitch black that night."

Mr Parsley said Mr Cole had twice been offered a place to stay, from a friend and at the White Horse pub, but had refused.

"That was not a rational act in the condition he was in," he said.

"Daniel was clearly confused that night. The confusion was a combination of his use of cocaine that then led to an apparent lack of sleep and he was suffering from the cold. It was a combination of these factors that led to his confusion."

A 'compassionate and loving son' and an 'amazing father'

During the inquest, Mr Cole was described as 'the patriarch of the family who was looked up to by all'.

In a statement from his mother Dawn, she said he loved being a father to his daughter Bella and was looking forward to meeting his new baby girl Isla.

She was born just weeks after his death.

His parents said Daniel was a 'compassionate and loving son' and an 'amazing father'.

They said: "He would light up any room with his cheeky smile or his loud infectious laugh.

"To those who knew him, he had a big heart, and was most caring, generous and hard-working in nature.

"A forgiving and understanding young man, Daniel would go out of his way to help anyone, and was full of love, joy and pride.

"Our hearts are all aching."

Following the inquest, his family issued a statement saying they did not wish to comment on the inquest's conclusion.

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