Harold Hill crash victim died in ‘tragic accident’

PUBLISHED: 14:41 16 September 2015 | UPDATED: 16:09 16 September 2015

Gabriel Serunkuma

Gabriel Serunkuma


A “passionate” young man who was finally “feeling good about himself” died in a tragic accident after losing control of his car and ploughing into a lamppost, an inquest heard.

On January 26, just before 10.30pm, Gabriel Serunkuma, 24 – who was driving faster than the 30mph limit on Upper Rainham Road, Hornchurch – “misjudged” a bend in the road and over-corrected himself.

Paramedics tried to save the young driver, of Heaton Way, Harold Hill, but he had sustained “massive injuries” and was pronounced dead at the scene.

His older brother, Raphael, told the coroner Gabriel, who worked as a kitchen porter at The Shepherd and Dog pub in Harold Hill, had been in some trouble with the law but was moving in the right direction and had recently gained his forklift drivers licence.

“The only thing that is really frustrating is he was trying to be a better person,” he said. “He had shown signs of improvement – getting a job and holding it down. For the longest time he had wanted to do be a forklift driver and work in a warehouse. He was feeling good about himself.”

He added that his brother, who he lived with in Heaton Way with their mother and older brother, was “very passionate, whether right or wrong.”

Medical reports showed Gabriel had a “significant amount” of cannabis in his system, but coroner Shirley Radcliffe said his regular use meant it might have had no impact on his death. He was driving with a provisional licence, but did have insurance on the car.

Collision investigator Phillip Ritchie said he was “without a doubt” driving faster than the 30mph limit as at the point of impact with the lamppost he was travelling 35-45mph.

Concluding that Gabriel’s death was an accident, the coroner said: “Gabriel was a young man who now had a goal.

“He tragically lost his life driving on a road where the speed limit was 30. It was well lit, there was no adverse weather conditions and nothing wrong with his car that could have contributed to the crash.

“He was driving at excess speed and misjudged the bend in the road.”

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