Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 15°C

min temp: 14°C

Search

Ipswich woman who died in van crash had argument with partner, inquest heard

08:17 19 February 2016

The scene of the crash at the junction of Bramford Road and Sproughton Road

The scene of the crash at the junction of Bramford Road and Sproughton Road

The family of a woman who died in a crash in October 2014 say they have been left with “unanswered questions” about her death following an inquest yesterday.

Helen Scoines, 48, of Lone Barn Court, Ipswich, died on October 6 2014 after the van she was driving crashed into a wall at the junction of Bramford Road with Sproughton Road shortly after 11pm, leaving her with fatal head injuries.

At her inquest, held at IP-City Centre in Ipswich yesterday, evidence was heard from investigating officers that Helen had been involved in an argument with partner John Potkins, 46, prior to the crash.

The inquest heard that the pair were seen arguing outside their home by witnesses who described seeing him use “abusive language” and “push her to the floor”.

During the hearing, Mr Potkins denied he had abused her.

Helen then got into the driver side seat of the white Vauxhall Combo van they shared, with Mr Potkins climbing into the back of the van before she drove off, the inquest was told.

A police investigation observed CCTV cameras in the area, and took witness statements, of which several noted the van travelling at an “excessive” speed in the 30mph limit area.

The inquest heard that the van touched a portion of the pavement, which caused it to spin, first striking a traffic light pole on the driver’s side, before making impact with the wall.

A forensic investigation by police revealed that Helen had not been wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.

Enquiries by police had considered the possibility Helen had been distracted from inside by Mr Potkins, although officers found no evidence of marks on either of them to suggest there had been contact, it was heard.

Giving evidence at the inquest, Mr Potkins admitted that he could not remember what had happened after getting into the van.

Pc Andrew Fossey told the inquest that “no evidence” had been found of a distraction from inside the van, but admitted that “it couldn’t be ruled out”.

The inquest heard that Mr Potkins had also suffered head injuries in the crash, requiring more than 100 stitches.

A post-mortem examination revealed Helen had just 18mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood – well below the legal limit to drive, and officers indicated there was “no evidence she was using a mobile phone”.

Mr Potkins had been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and abuse charges in the aftermath of his recovery, but the Crown Prosecution Service found there was not enough evidence to charge him. The police and the family both unsuccessfully appealed against the CPS decision, the inquest was told.

Coroner Dr Peter Dean recorded a narrative verdict, and said: “We do not know what happened in the vehicle that night.

“We cannot and do not know exactly what happened to cause the very tragic impact itself, but clearly it was an impact that led to the loss of Helen.

“My thoughts are very much with the family and all those touched by the events.”

The inquest heard that Helen had expressed to friends plans to leave Mr Potkins, but did not want to do so on his birthday – the night of her death. Paying tribute to Helen, her family said in a statement: “Our daughter Helen was gentle, caring and generous. She had only that day begun a new career opportunity and was looking forward to a brighter future where her enthusiasm, creativity and friendly nature could shine.

“She is dearly missed and her sudden loss in unresolved circumstance was cruel in every way.

“A number of questions surrounding Helen’s death remain unanswered, as only the people involved in the incident know the truth of what happened.

“Despite a full investigation into the circumstances we remain unclear on how Helen came to crash the vehicle she was driving. Our thoughts today remain with our daughter, who will forever be in our memories.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ipswich Star visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ipswich Star staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ipswich Star account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Work started in summer 2012. It was supposed to be finished by Easter 2014.

Sports editor Mark Heath says Travel Ipswich has made his journeys to and from work a misery as traffic continues to back up around the town centre on a daily basis.

Border Force officers have foiled the biggest ever attempt to smuggle cigarettes into the UK after uncovering more than 11million cigarettes at the Port of Felixstowe.

Staff at Stansted Airport have taken to social media in an attempt to reunite a lost toy bunny with its owner.

A man in his 70s was assaulted by a group of men riding trail bikes in an area of woodland in Suffolk.

A Suffolk MP delivered a masterclass in public speaking today by refusing to be distracted by a bizarre distraction at a radio industry conference.

Investigations are under way after a man died at a go-karting race circuit.

A teenager punched a taxi driver several times while he was on the ground after his mum gave the cabbie a tip, a court heard.

Strictly Come Dancing officially started at the weekend, with Daisy Lowe now at the top of the leaderboard and Ed Balls at the bottom.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

MyDate24 MyPhotos24