Somersham/Bramford: Clutch failure costs prison officer’s life

A MOTORCYCLIST died of multiple injuries after a mechanical failure caused a collision.

Peter Mittell, pictured, of Brook Way in Somersham, was riding his red Honda bike on the B1113 in Bramford when the accident happened on April 1.

Greater Suffolk coroner Dr Peter Dean recorded a verdict of accidental death at an inquest at Ip-City yesterday.

Pc Andrew Fossey, of Suffolk police’s collision investigation team, told the inquest the weather and visibility were good, and that Mr Mittell, who was sitting at the Pound Lane junction, collided with a VW Golf at 9.10pm.

He said: “When Mr Mittell’s motorcycle was examined it was found there was a major defect with the clutch which had recently been removed and refitted – but the wrong way round.

“While he was waiting, it meant there were low revs but sufficient enough to move across the opposing lane where the bike would have stalled.

“It was a catastrophic failure of the clutch that put Mr Mittell on to the wrong side of the road.” It is believed Mr Mittell, 61, had been working on his bike’s clutch a few days previously.

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Pc Fossey added: “There was no way Mr Mittell or the driver could have foreseen what was going to happen and there was no time for either of them to take action.

A post-mortem revealed Mr Mittell, a prison officer, suffered multiple injuries.

Dr Dean said: “It was extremely tragic at that point in time there was oncoming traffic.This was a tragic road traffic accident which came from a mechanical problem propelling the bike into the road.”

n Pay tribute to Mr Mittell. Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail