Drunk driver was speeding ‘like Fast and Furious’ when he killed Romford teen Lauren Brown in Dagenham, court hears
09:48 12 March 2014
A drunk, speeding driver, who a witness said had been road racing like he was in The Fast and the Furious film, killed a teenager who “had everything to live for”, an inquest heard on Friday.
Stephen Tilbury, who also died in the collision, had drunk four pints in an hour and a quarter shortly before his Ford Transit van mowed down “bubbly [and] beautiful” Lauren Brown, 16.
Both deaths could have been prevented if Mr Tilbury, who was nearly three times the legal drink-drive limit, had been travelling within the 30mph speed limit, investigating officer Pc Alex Hewitt told coroner Nadia Persaud.
Havering College health and beauty student Lauren was walking in Crow Lane near the junction with Whalebone Lane South, Dagenham, just before 10pm on June 28.
Mr Tilbury, 51, of Seabrook Gardens, Romford, was driving home from nearby Crowlands Heath Golf Club, Dagenham, when his van hit a kerb at more than 40mph.
Pc Hewitt said the van bounced “like a billiard ball” across the road, hitting Lauren on the pavement, before crashing through a fence and down an embankment.
Paramedics pronounced Mr Tilbury dead at the scene.
Lauren, who lived less than half a mile away in Crow Lane, was taken to the Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, east London, where she died at 12.50am from bruising to her brain.
Her mother Karen Armstrong described her as a “strong, bubbly personality” and called her a “beautiful, family-orientated girl who had everything to live for”.
“She was always smiling,” she added. “Everybody loved her and she loved her friends.”
Barbara Walker was driving behind Mr Tilbury and said he was racing with another car. She said: “He was swerving, and he and a silver car started overtaking each other. It was like [street racing film] The Fast and the Furious.”
Diabetic Mr Tilbury had received a number of warnings about his alcohol consumption.
Recording her narrative verdict, Ms Persaud said there was a small chance he had blacked out due to low blood sugar levels, but it was “not a probability”.
Senior investigating officer Det Sgt Helen Lambert said Mr Tilbury would have been charged with causing death by dangerous driving and driving under the influence of alcohol had he survived.
Lauren’s aunt Sue Young told the Post the verdict did not give the family closure.
“It won’t bring her back,” she said.
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