“Much-loved father” Lawrence Noble appeared to lose consciousness at the wheel moments before his fatal crash in Newmarket, inquest is told
PUBLISHED: 16:25 28 November 2016 | UPDATED: 16:52 28 November 2016
A “much-loved father” who died after a car crash in Newmarket may have fallen asleep at the wheel just prior to the accident.
Lawrence Noble, 76, from Newmarket, died on Bury Road on May 26, just outside the Bedford Lodge Hotel.
Mr Noble, who is the father of Suffolk County Council leader Colin, was unconscious at the wheel just before his Vauxhall Corsa veered across the road and hit a tree, according to witnesses.
Assistant coroner for Suffolk Dan Sharpstone said it was also possible Mr Noble lost consciousness due to an ongoing heart condition.
Conservative leader Colin Noble did not attend the inquest, held in Bury St Edmunds today, although his sister was there as well as family friend Dr Ron Carter.
A family spokesman said afterwards: “We appreciated the inquest today and it’s a difficult time for the family with a much-loved father missed.”
Mr Noble had previously suffered from depression and was prescribed medication that could have contributed to his tiredness, the inquest heard.
Earlier on the day of his death, Mr Noble had visited his psychotherapist Ruth Wyner.
In a statement read out at the inquest, she said: “He had complained of feeling very tired and could not understand why as he hadn’t been doing a great deal. Otherwise, he appeared no different to usual.”
Mr Noble died of multiple head, neck and chest injuries. He previously had a pacemaker fitted and suffered from ischemic heart disease.
He was a gifted after-dinner speaker and the inquest heard he had been planning to take up public speaking again, which he had given up temporarily because of his illness.
The stretch of road where the crash happened had a 30mph speed limit. Mr Noble was travelling away from Newmarket town centre when his car veered across the road, hit a tree and then rolled back, colliding with the hotel’s wall on the other side of the road. His dog was in the car and also died at the scene.
Dr Sharpstone said: “My conclusion is that Mr Noble died as a result of a road traffic collision. There are two equally plausible possibilities for the cause of his unconsciousness prior to that collision – either falling asleep at the wheel or a cardiac event but I’m unable to differentiate between the two.”