Soldiers ‘saw death crash sergeant speeding’
FELLOW soldiers saw an Essex army sergeant break speed limits seconds before he died in a road accident, an inquest heard.
They were practising for a parade when Sergeant Philip Train’s motorbike crashed into a van at Colchester’s army barracks.
Estimates of his speed on Roman Way - where there is a speed limit of 20mph - prior to the crash ranged from 30-60mph, Chelmsford Coroner’s Court heard yesterday.
A police crash investigator said a Ford Transit van was turning right into a refuelling point when the accident with the 34-year-old’s Aprilia motorbike happened.
Driver Kwame Korsinah told the inquest he looked left and right before turning and that there was no vehicle in sight.
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Corporal Joshua Cato said the motorbike was doing more than 30mph and that it had nearly been in an accident with a Vauxhall car shortly before the van crash.
He said: “I heard a very big bang and I saw that the motorbike had been in a collision. I stopped the traffic and I rushed to the medical centre to get help.”
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Corporal Craig Masters said the braking was so heavy that the back wheel of the motorbike had been in the air just before the collision.
He added: “I heard the motorbike coming down the hill and as it went past me I turned to the right and then the next thing I heard was a crash.”
PC Steve Perrett, a crash investigator with Essex Police, confirmed soldiers had estimated the bike was travelling at up to 60mph.
He added the driver of the van “either failed to notice the motorbike or missed the speed it was travelling”.
Several members of Sgt Train’s distraught family - including widow Stacy and mother Phillis - were at Monday’s inquest.
Essex coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray said: “It was a tragic event and I’d like to express the court’s sympathy to you.
“Clearly he was much-loved and I hope you’ll be able to dwell upon all the happy, positive memories you have of him.”
Recording the verdict, Mrs Beasley-Murray said Mr Train had died due to a road traffic accident.
Sgt Train, of Thaxted Walk, Colchester, was from 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment, part of the 16 Air Assault Brigade. He had just been promoted to Platoon Commander when the accident happened on July 17, 2009.
Major Nick Copperwaite, officer in command of B Company, speaking at Sgt Train’s funeral, said he was “an excellent soldier”.
He added it was tragic that after serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland he had died in a traffic collision in Colchester.
A spokeswoman for Essex Police yesterday confirmed a 27-year-old man from the Colchester area was arrested on suspicion of causing death by careless driving shortly after the incident but he was released without charge on September 1, 2009.