Death of 'loving' Suffolk woman in crash was 'unmitigated tragedy'
- Credit: Archant
The death of a Long Melford woman in a crash has been described as an "unmitigated tragedy" as her inquest concluded.
Sophie Hayhow, 46, was driving her boyfriend Stefan Przepiora's Shelby Daytona on the southbound A134 at Long Melford when she momentarily looked away from the road and veered into a tree in July 2020.
Mr Przepiora survived the incident but Ms Hayhow died at the scene.
An inquest into her death concluded on Friday afternoon at Suffolk Coroner's Court following an adjournment at the end of March 2021.
The inquest heard that Ms Hayhow had asked to drive Mr Przepiora's car following a date.
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Ms Hayhow had been drinking prior to her death and was twice the legal limit, but did not appear drunk in any of the CCTV evidence seen by the court.
The inquest heard that Ms Hayhow was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of her death.
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"Had Sophie worn a seatbelt she would have survived," said coroner Jacqueline Devonish.
A post mortem into Ms Hayhow's death had found she had died from a head injury.
Despite calls from her family to have her death considered as an unlawful killing, Ms Devonish concluded that Ms Hayhow's death was as the result of a road traffic accident.
In her conclusion, Ms Devonish said that Sophie had driven the car without pressure from her boyfriend and had put her boyfriend at risk by doing so after drinking.
Therefore, Ms Devonish said that Ms Hayhow's death did not reach the threshold for an unlawful killing as letting her drive the car was not a criminal act.
"She was responsible for her own actions," said Ms Devonish.
Ms Devonish described Ms Hayhow's death as an "unmitigated tragedy" for her family.
Ms Hayhow's mother, Lyn Hayhow, told the inquest that her daughter's death had provoked an outpouring of emotion in the local community with the family having received around 360 letters and cards from members of the public.
A local field has also been named after Ms Hayhow.
Ms Devonish paid tribute to Ms Hayhow's mother saying she had been incredibly understanding throughout the inquest and had handled the difficult case with "dignity".