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Death of One college student Carys Hammond in Mistley crash an accident, inquest rules

PUBLISHED: 18:15 08 September 2017 | UPDATED: 18:15 08 September 2017

One college student Carys Hammond, who died aged 18 after a crash near Mistley in Essex. Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

One college student Carys Hammond, who died aged 18 after a crash near Mistley in Essex. Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

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Improvements should be made to a north Essex road after a teenager died in a “tragic accident” when her car crashed into railings, a coroner has said.

The scene of the single-vehicle crash in Brickman's Hill between Mistley and Bradfield, near Manningtree, where Carys Hammond died. Picture: ARCHANTThe scene of the single-vehicle crash in Brickman's Hill between Mistley and Bradfield, near Manningtree, where Carys Hammond died. Picture: ARCHANT

Carys Hammond, 18, was travelling along Brickman’s Hill, Mistley, at a speed of 53mph when she lost control of the Fiat 500 on a bend.

The car smashed through crash posts and railings, with two impaling the vehicle, before stopping against a brick wall.

Essex senior coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray today at Chelmsford Coroner’s Court ruled Carys, of Manningtree, died as a result of an accident.

However, she urged Essex County Council’s highways department, which is responsible for the stretch of road, to carry out recommendations highlighted in a report it carried out after Carys’s death when it emerged the railings were already damaged when the teenager hit them.

Carys Hammond with mum June. Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILYCarys Hammond with mum June. Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

The inquest heard Essex Highways had not been informed of a previous accident, which had damaged them in February – just two months before Carys died – and therefore had not known they needed to be repaired.

Mrs Beasley-Murray, who said she had insisted Essex Highways be at the inquest, said: “I am aware Essex Highways has visited the site and made a number of recommendations.

“One is already in place, which is to lower the speed limit there. There is work to do on resurfacing and on signs and also they are going to look at this barrier.

“This court hopes sincerely these recommendations are carried out.”

Friends and family of Carys Hammond on what would have been her 19th birthday at her memorial tree. Picture: JUNE HAMMONDFriends and family of Carys Hammond on what would have been her 19th birthday at her memorial tree. Picture: JUNE HAMMOND

The inquest heard Carys and two passengers, who suffered minor injuries, were travelling from Ipswich when the accident happened on April 17.

While the car remained under the national speed limit of 60mph, the court heard how the car had veered onto the other side of the carriageway as control was lost and, despite heavy braking, it ended up crashing through the railings.

The One college student died at the scene from multiple injuries.

Pc Alan Barlow, forensic crash investigator, said it was impossible to say had the railings been intact if it would have saved Carys’ life.

He said: “It’s beyond my area of expertise to say if they had been repaired if there would have been a different outcome in this incident. Unfortunately I can’t answer that.”

In a statement after the inquest, a spokesman for Essex Highways said: “Our specialist road safety engineers have worked with Essex Police to assess whether there are improvements that can be made at this site to help to prevent a similar tragic collision.

“Essex Highways will now work to implement those improvements, which have been endorsed by the coroner.

“Ian Grundy, county councillor for highways, and councillor Andrew Erskine, chairman of the Local Highways Panel, are working urgently with the Tendring Local Highways Panel to bring forward enhanced road signs and new road lining, which is planned to be carried out early in the new financial year.

“Improved road surfacing will be done as soon as weather conditions permit after the winter. A temporary speed limit of 40 mph has been introduced and will be reviewed as part of the overall measures. Engineers will investigate whether improved barriers can be installed at the site.”

Tributes paid to Carys

Carys’ family paid tribute to her, having marked what would have been her 19th birthday at her memorial tree two days before the inquest on September 6.

“She was taken from us in a tragic car accident. Our lives changed forever that day leaving us broken-hearted – we live a different normal now to everyone else.

“Carys was vibrant, intelligent, vivacious, beautiful, and a totally-loved daughter, sister and granddaughter adored by all who knew her. She was so full of life and truly touched the hearts and souls of everyone who knew and loved her.

“She had a talent for sport and a passion for cricket. She had hundreds of friends who just loved to be in her company. She had a sparkle that lit up a room and she was a ray of sunshine to us all, with her gorgeous smile and infectious laugh, and is sorely missed by all that knew her.

“The world is a sad place without her in it. All of the family are still utterly devastated.”

Carys’ friends and family have been fundraising in her memory for the Essex Air Ambulance and the Anthony Nolan Trust, who she was registered with as a potential donor.

A charity cricket match held on the August bank holiday saw a Carys Hammond Eleven taking on a club side at Horndon, where she played in what will become an annual fixture.

A charity ball is also being held on September 23, with all 220 tickets already sold-out – but it is planned to expand the event, and run it annually.

“It’s our first one so we didn’t want to go too big,” said June Hammond, Cary’s mother.

Donations to the charities in her name can be made by contacting her mother or brother, June and Connor Hammond, or friend Hannah Durkan on Facebook.

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