Inquest hears how teenage motorist dies in head on collision just weeks after passing test

A TEENAGE motorist died in a head-on collision after he took a bend too fast and lost control of his vehicle just weeks after passing his driving test, an inquest heard on Monday. James Donald Hinkins, 17, a horticulturalist and a talented clay pigeon sho

A TEENAGE motorist died in a head-on collision after he took a bend too fast and lost control of his vehicle just weeks after passing his driving test, an inquest heard on Monday.

James Donald Hinkins, 17, a horticulturalist and a talented clay pigeon shooter with a promising future in the sport, died at the scene of the accident.

Front seat passenger Jamie Hain, who had known Mr Hinkins of Benn's Lane, Terrington St Clement since they were at primary school together, told how he and his friend were out for a drive.

He said in his statement read out at the inquest at Swaffham that he considered his friend was travelling too fast on the 60 mph road as he approached a left-hand bend and lost control of his blue Volkswagen Golf.


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The vehicle drifted out into the wrong side of the road and collided with a van coming in the opposite direction early in the evening of July 22 last year on Sutton Road at Terrington St Clement.

The van was being driven by 72-year-old David Charles Barton, owner of the family-run Hillgate Nurseries business on Sutton Road.

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"Suddenly I saw a blue flash coming towards me. I did not know what type of vehicle it was but it was wholly on my side of the road coming straight at me, it appeared to come from nowhere," he said in a statement.

Mr Barton suffered chest and stomach bruising from his seat belt.

Joseph Dunton, of Sutton Road, said he was in his driveway about to get into his car when he heard a huge bang. He ran out into the road and saw Mr Hinkins' car on the other side of the road. He heard the van driver say "There was nothing I could do, he (Mr Hinkins) was on the other side of the road."

The inquest heard that police examinations carried out on both vehicles found no mechanical defects that would have contributed to the accident. At the time the weather was fine and the road surface was dry.

The inquest was told that there was no suggestion that Mr Barton had been driving in any other than a "safe manner".

Greater Norfolk coroner William Armstrong said that Mr Hinkins died at the scene and he recorded a verdict of death as a result of a road traffic collision. A post mortem examination had previously revealed he died of multiple injuries consistent with being in a car accident.

Mr Armstrong expressed his deepest sympathy to Mr Hinkins' parents, Joy and Chris, who attended the inquest.

"The hearts of us all go out to them," he said.

Mr Armstrong said: "James was the Hinkins' only child. He was a cheeky chappie who was a good mate and a much-loved friend and son and that's how he would always be remembered.

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