Inquest into triple fatal accident

IN our report on the inquest held in Bury St Edmunds on September 10, 2002 into the deaths of three teenagers in a road traffic accident on March 10, 2000 at Cavendish, Suffolk, we wrongly described Mr Robert Ames as responsible for the head-on crash into a Ford Escort which killed three teenagers.

IN our report on the inquest held in Bury St Edmunds on September 10, 2002 into the deaths of three teenagers in a road traffic accident on March 10, 2000 at Cavendish, Suffolk, we wrongly described Mr Robert Ames as responsible for the head-on crash into a Ford Escort which killed three teenagers.

At the inquest, Pc Andrew Gardener, a road traffic accident reconstruction expert, confirmed that while Mr Ames had been travelling 10mph over the speed limit, and was subsequently found to have excess alcohol, the accident was caused by the Ford Escort containing the teenagers being on the wrong side of the road at the time of the accident, with Mr Ames's vehicle being on the correct side of the road. This view was also supported by an independent road traffic reconstruction expert, Mr Peter Jennings, also giving evidence at the inquest.

Pc Gardener told the inquest that the closing speed was so great that there would have been no chance for either driver to take avoiding action.

In April 2001, Mr Ames appeared before Judge Beddard, who stated: "The cause of the accident remains a mystery. Both vehicles seem to have been travelling somewhat above the speed limit, but not to any great extent. It seems clear that for some reason, the car with the young people in it was on the wrong side of the road when the collision occurred. The prosecution accepts that neither your slight excessive speed nor alcohol level contributed either to the collision or to its tragic severity."


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Mr Ames accepted a charge of careless driving in substitution for a drink-driving offence which the Crown Prosecution Service was unable to bring. Mr Ames was sentenced in accordance with the drink-driving provisions, not the accident.

Taking account of the evidence of Pc Gardener and Peter Jennings, together with the comments of Judge Beddard, we unreservedly apologise for referring to Mr Ames as responsible for the accident.

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We apologise to Mr Ames and his friends and family for any distress this may have caused.

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