Road crash death accidental

A DOCTOR'S wife died after her car skidded on a mud-strewn road and collided with a Land Rover travelling in the opposite direction, an inquest heard.Jennifer Townsley died at the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston on December 5, 2000, from severe head injuries she received in an accident on the B1117 Walpole Road, near Halesworth, around two weeks earlier.

A DOCTOR'S wife died after her car skidded on a mud-strewn road and collided with a Land Rover travelling in the opposite direction, an inquest heard.

Jennifer Townsley died at the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston on December 5, 2000, from severe head injuries she received in an accident on the B1117 Walpole Road, near Halesworth, around two weeks earlier.

Mrs Townsley, 59, of Southwold, was driving her Midas kit car when it collided with a Land Rover Freelander being driven by Nichola Kelly, of Cookley, near Halesworth.

Mrs Kelly and her six-month-old baby son Benjamin escaped serious injury in the crash.


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She told the inquest, held at Lowestoft Magistrates' Court, that she remembered seeing the white Midas and that Mrs Townsley's driving gave her no cause for concern.

"She did nothing wrong. The cause of the accident was the huge amount of mud on the road," said Mrs Kelly.

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Earlier this year farmer David Winter had been cleared of the manslaughter of Mrs Townsley at a hearing in London's High Court.

Mr Winter, 71, of Red House Farm, Walpole Road, Halesworth, was harvesting sugar beet at the time of the accident from a field alongside the B1117 Walpole Road.

He attended the inquest but did not give evidence personally. Instead his solicitor, Sarah Garrood, read a statement on his behalf.

In the statement, Mr Winter said he had hired contractors to lift the sugar beet and take it to a clamp on November 21 and 22.

The wet conditions made it impossible for tractor and trailers to reach the clamp by crossing fields so they used a 250-metre stretch of the road.

Mr Winter said he had warning signs made and put up at either side of the muddy stretch of highway to alert drivers to the hazard.

He also visited the road and tried to remove some of the mud but did not consider the amount of mud on the road surface was excessive.

On the morning of Wednesday, November 22, Mr Winter noticed that police had also put signs on the verge beside the road warning motorists to slow down.

Lynne Barker, of Southwold, was a passenger in Mrs Townsley's car at the time of the accident and received serious injuries in the crash.

She told the inquest that Mrs Townsley was a safe and considerate driver.

Accident investigator, Pc Christopher Rodder, said in his opinion the accident had been caused when Mrs Townsley lost control of her vehicle in the muddy conditions and collided with the Land Rover travelling in the opposite direction.

A jury returned a unanimous verdict of "accidental death",

Mrs Barker is still considering taking further legal proceedings against Mr Winter for the serious injuries she received in the crash.

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