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Mother weeps at son's inquest

PUBLISHED: 06:39 01 June 2002 | UPDATED: 12:01 03 March 2010

TODAY the mother of Shotley teenager John Bateman, who was killed when his car collided with a coach, wept when a coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.

TODAY the mother of Shotley teenager John Bateman, who was killed when his car collided with a coach, wept when a coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.

After the inquest, his father, also named John said: "I am very disappointed by the police investigation."

Ellen Bateman and her husband, of Orwell View, Shotley, had employed an expert tachograph witness John Mandleson to give evidence at the inquest of their son.

The hearing into the death of 19-year-old John had previously been adjourned to discover how fast the 53-seater coach that collided with the his Skoda Favorit was travelling. The former Holbrook School student was killed a month short of his 20th birthday when he was driving along the B1456 towards Ipswich at 9am on March 19 last year.

A previous court heard that the near side of the school bus acted like a tin opener on Mr Bateman's Skoda.

Today's inquest attempted to establish both the speed the coach was travelling at and both vehicles' alignment in the road.

While the expert employed by Mr and Mrs Bateman agreed with police estimates that the speed the collision took place on impact at was 37 miles per hour, debate surrounded the speed before the crash.

Mr Mandleson told the court that when wheels locked on impact, the tachograph went into "freefall", making exact evidence difficult.

Police witnesses also clashed with Mr Mandleson on skid marks which may or may not have shown the coach's overhang into the central line of the road.

Coroner Peter Dean told the court: "This court is fact finding, not fault finding. We have heard two differing opinions over the interpretation of facts."

The driver of the school bus spoke only once in response to questions from the Bateman solicitor over whether sunlight had been a factor in the accident.

He told the inquest his driving had not been affected by sunshine.

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