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Inquest told lay-by death was a tragedy

PUBLISHED: 15:28 20 November 2001 | UPDATED: 15:21 03 March 2010

A LORRY driver has recalled the moment that a German trucker was killed as he asked for directions at a lay by on the A12.

At the inquest of 63-year-old Albert Schwoll driver Darren Jackson told how he had pulled off the road near Copdock on June 4 at around 12.

A LORRY driver has recalled the moment that a German trucker was killed as he asked for directions at a lay by on the A12.

At the inquest of 63-year-old Albert Schwoll driver Darren Jackson told how he had pulled off the road near Copdock on June 4 at around 12.30pm.

He said he was surprised to see someone standing by the side of his cab window and realised that Mr Schwoll, who was holding lots of paperwork, wanted directions.

He said: "I reached down for my map to show him where to go. I was about to get out but passed the paperwork through the window to him first. As I did so there was a screech and a bang and he disappeared over the bonnet of a car."

Mr Jackson told how their hands were literally still touching as he went to pass him back the paperwork.

He said: "The car just took him and I was left holding his paperwork."

Mr Schwoll, from Eschweiler, Germany, had been trying to get directions to the Boss Hall Industrial Estate, in Ipswich, when he was struck by a white Ford Mondeo being driven by Martin Southgate, a former Brantham Parish Councillor.

Mr Southgate has since been found guilty of careless or inconsiderate driving and has been fined £405 and given six penalty points.

During the inquest at County Hall yesterday other witnesses told coroner Dr Peter Dean that they had seen Mr Southgate's white car swerve or veer into the lay-by on the Ipswich bound carriageway.

Witness Adine Hunt was a passenger in her husband's car and was travelling behind Mr Southgate's car.

She said: "I saw the car veer off and thought he was taking the next entrance but had gone off at the wrong one. He was going so fast to go into a lay by. I don't remember seeing him hit the truck or lorry, but I remember seeing someone come up above the roof."

Mr Southgate told the hearing that he had been driving his friend Alan Nuttall to Heathrow Airport to pick up Mr Nuttall's daughter and had started off at 5am that day.

They had stopped twice on the return journey and were almost back to Ipswich when the fatal accident happened.

Mr Southgate said he remembered seeing Tesco and Toys R Us but then his mind went blank.

He said: "I just remember that poor man lying there with his injuries, I am just so sorry that it has happened to that poor man."

Police reports showed that Mr Schwoll had been carried for some distance on the bonnet of Mr Southgate's car before it had come to a stop.

Ambulance crews and staff at Ipswich Hospital treated Mr Schwoll but he later died from his injuries and from blood loss.

On recording a verdict of accidental death Coroner Mr Dean told witnesses that it had been a tragic accident and that the verdict was the only one he could record.

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