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Teenager who died in crash was late leaving for work, inquest hears

PUBLISHED: 16:40 10 September 2018 | UPDATED: 12:55 11 September 2018

Harry Simons, who died in a crash in Thorpe Market in March. Picture: Norfolk police/submitted

Harry Simons, who died in a crash in Thorpe Market in March. Picture: Norfolk police/submitted

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A teenager who died in a crash had been late leaving for work and was speeding, an inquest heard.

Harry Simons, who died in a crash in Thorpe Market in March. Picture: Norfolk police/submittedHarry Simons, who died in a crash in Thorpe Market in March. Picture: Norfolk police/submitted

Teaching assistant Harry Simons lost control of his car while navigating a right-hand bend on the A149 Cromer Road at Thorpe Market on March 21 this year.

The 19-year-old, who lived in Hethersett, swerved into the Cromer-bound lane and was hit by another vehicle at about 7.50am.

He died at the scene, while the other driver, Emmalene Chisholm, was left with “serious, life-changing” injuries.

An inquest in Norwich on Monday heard that 17 seconds before the crash, a telematic device in Mr Simons’ silver Vauxhall Corsa recorded his speed at 71mph.

Jo Farquharson, Mr Simons’ girlfriend, said he left her home in Beeston Regis for work at 7.32am on the day of the crash, which was “later than normal” by about 12 minutes.

He had to be at St Nicholas Primary School in Great Yarmouth by 8.30am.

Dean Lee said he was overtaken by Mr Simons at about 7.45am as he travelled on the A149 towards Thorpe Market.

Reading his statement, area coroner Yvonne Blake said: “He [Mr Lee] confirms he was travelling at 50mph and that the Corsa was travelling a bit too fast for the conditions.”

The inquest heard how Mr Simons’ car rotated clockwise and crossed into the opposite lane.

Mrs Chisholm, a school nurse who was driving a Hyundai Tuscan, was unable to avoid the crash and struck his vehicle.

Mr Simons’ died at the scene, while Mrs Chisholm suffered spinal injuries and nerve damage.

A report by PC Graeme Brookes said Mr Simons’ loss of control was caused by a “lift-off over steer”.

He said it is caused when a front-wheel drive car approaches a bend at “very close” to its limit of adhesion, and throttle pressure is suddenly released.

This reduces the rear tyres’ grip and causes the car to slide, Mr Brookes said.

Giving evidence. PC Nick Metcalf said evidence from the telematic device suggested that speed and inexperience was a factor.

The inquest heard how Mr Simons passed his driving test in April 2017.

His medical cause of death was given as multiple injuries due to a road traffic collision.

No alcohol was found in his blood or urine. Ms Blake said he died as a result of a road traffic collision.

Family tribute

A statement on behalf of Mr Simons’ family said: “We are still coming to terms with our devastating loss and to learn that speed was a factor in Harry’s accident has been very difficult for our family.

“Harry has paid the ultimate price for one moments lapse in judgment.

“Harry was loving, generous and compassionate and never wanted to let anyone down, in this case it meant rushing to be at work on time.

“We continue to love and miss him every second of every day and take comfort in knowing how well thought of and liked Harry was by all.”

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