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Accidental death verdicts on Melton pair

PUBLISHED: 12:59 12 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:19 03 March 2010

TODAY marked the final investigation into the death of Melton couple, Edward and Pamela Bishopp.

The inquest into the couple's death at County Hall in Ipswich, heard how the pensioner's had been travelling on the A12 at Martlesham on December 19, 2000, when their car was in collision with a lorry.

TODAY marked the final investigation into the death of Melton couple, Edward and Pamela Bishopp.

The inquest into the couple's death at County Hall in Ipswich, heard how the pensioner's had been travelling on the A12 at Martlesham on December 19, 2000, when their car was in collision with a lorry.

The lorry had been turning right from a gap in the central reservation at Brightwell when Mr Bishopp's Honda Accord was in collision with the back of it around 6am.

Mr Bishopp, 74, died at the scene and his wife Pamela, 73, died later in hospital.

The driver of the lorry Kevin Wright, of Church Lane, Ipswich, who has previously been convicted for careless driving in relation to the accident, gave evidence at the inquiry and told how he left his work premises at around 5.40am on that day. As he reached the junction with the A12 he said he waited as he saw a haze of headlights coming in a northbound direction and then proceeded to cross the carriageway. He said he could see more headlights coming from the southbound direction towards Felixstowe but they ware around 400 to 500 metres away.

He said: "I made my turn to the right and the car was still a fair way off. I straightened up and looked in my mirror to see the lights coming up behind. As it was coming up I was just waiting for it to pass me and I then I just heard a bang, it sounded like a tyre going off. With 31 years of driving you know when you can and can't go."

Mr Wright is appealing against his conviction for careless driving.

Also revealed at the inquest, post mortem reports stated that both Mr and Mrs Bishop died from multiple fractures and haemorrhaging.

Accident investigator Pc John Rogers attended the scene in an effort to reconstruct what had happened.

He said that although the lorry's brakes were inefficient, there were no existing defects on either vehicle which would have contributed to the crash.

Pc Rogers said three marker lights on the side of the lorry were caked in dried mud and another was not working, but all other lights on the lorry were working correctly. He stressed he examined the lorry after it had been stationary for some time and fresh mud could have dried with heat from the lamps.

He found a gouge mark on the tarmac on the point of impact, and a scratch on the ground, likely to have been made by the damaged lorry, but said there were no tyre marks from the Honda to indicate it had braked or taken evasive action.

Pc Rogers said: "There was no evidence that the Honda had done emergency braking or taken evasive action enough to leave marks on the road, but vehicles can do emergency braking and not leave a mark. We have no way of knowing whether or not any attempt to stop was made."

Coroner Peter Dean said: "The physical evidence is silent as to whether Mr Bishop did or did not brake to try and avoid the impact. What we do have is a very tragic situation.

"What we have here is clearly a tragic accident that claimed the life of two people shortly before Christmas 2000. It is not for this court to determine any liability but to record two verdicts of accidental death would summarise what happened here."

He offered his condolences to the Bishop family and added that the tragedy had been distressing for Mr Wright as well.

n The Evening Star launched a campaign to have the central reservation gap closed. The county highways department has said survey work has just been completed and plans will soon be revealed.

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