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Accidental death verdict on 18-year-old

PUBLISHED: 20:05 26 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:43 03 March 2010

AN 18-YEAR-OLD disqualified driver died after crashing a car following an unexplained breaking manoeuvre on a deserted road.

AN 18-YEAR-OLD disqualified driver died after crashing a car following an unexplained breaking manoeuvre on a deserted road.

Unemployed Leo Crane, of Spenser Road, Ipswich flipped his Ford Granada into a ditch after putting his foot hard on the brakes for no apparent reason.

An inquest into his death heard passengers Matthew Livingstone and Alex Springer could not explain why their friend decided to use the brakes.

Mr Crane was killed after the Granada hit a tree in Barham Road, near Coddenham, on May 15. Neither he nor his passengers were wearing seatbelts.

Dr Peter Dean, Greater Suffolk and East Essex Coroner, told Mr Crane's family the head injuries he suffered would have killed him almost immediately.

Dr Dean recorded a verdict of accidental death.

A statement was read out on behalf of the family by friend Sherry Smithen. It told of the pain suffered by everyone connected with someone they described as a loving son, brother and uncle.

Dr Dean read out statements from Mr Livingstone and Mr Springer in which they admitted they were also barred from driving.

But the trio were keen to find a car they could use for occasional driving, the statements said.

They found an abandoned Ford Granada in a garden near their Whitton homes and were told they could have it by the owner.

Dr Dean said after the young men cleaned up the car, they were quite satisfied with how it handled and did not notice any real mechanical problems.

On the day of the accident, the friends drove to Stowmarket to look for another car and Mr Crane was driving home.

As he drove into the stretch of road where the accident happened he accelerated up to the 60mph speed limit and began pumping the breaks.

Dr Dean said Mr Livingstone told him to calm down, but almost immediately Mr Crane lost control of the car and it went spinning into the ditch.

Suffolk police accident expert Pc Christopher Rodder said he was satisfied only the foot brake had been applied and Mr Crane was not trying to do a handbrake turn.

Pc Rodder said marks on the road showed Mr Crane lost control of the car as he tried to recover from a 12-metre skid which resulted from him applying the brakes.

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