Coroner concludes 'catastrophic' injuries killed Dagenham father-of-three killed in Gidea Park motorcycle crash
PUBLISHED: 17:19 22 December 2017 | UPDATED: 17:26 22 December 2017
A coroner described the death of a 23-year-old motorcyclist in a "catastrophic" crash as "a lesson for car drivers and motorcyclists alike" at an inquest today, Friday December 22.
Father-of-three Craig Voyce, who was born and raised in Dagenham but moved to Southend in 2013, died after a serious collision outside The Ship pub in Main Road, Gidea Park, on October 28, 2016.
At Walthamstow Coroner’s Court, assistant coroner for east London, Ian Wade QC, revealed that CCTV shows Mr Voyce riding at speed on his motorcycle into a Range Rover as it tries to turn into the pub’s car park.
The car has its windows smashed but continues pulling into the car park, while Mr Voyce falls motionless to the ground.
Paramedics were on the scene within minutes, but Mr Voyce died in the early hours of October 29 at the Royal London Hospital, Whitehcapel, after being airlifted there.
The inquest heard that the Range Rover’s driver, Raymond Woods, had lived in Gidea Park for eight years at the time of the accident, and had been dropping two friends off in Romford that night.
The father-of-four had been pulling into The Ship’s car park as one of his passengers, whom he had met in The Shepherd and Dog pub in Harold Hill, needed to go to the toilet.
After the collision, Mr Woods and his two passengers fled the scene in a taxi.
Although Mr Woods went to a police station three days later, he did plead guilty to a charge of failing to stop at the scene of an accident at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court in July this year and was subsequently disqualified from driving.
Once he had finished hearing Mr Woods’ evidence, Mr Wade allowed Craig’s father Robert Voyce to question him.
“Why didn’t you stop and wait?” the bereaved Mr Voyce asked, before claiming he had been told by others who were in The Shepherd and Dog that night that Mr Woods had had several pints of lager before leaving to drive to Romford.
Mr Woods categorically denied this as he apologised to Mr Voyce and he insisted his driving had been in no way impaired.
But later on in the inquest, Det Con Ian Lister, of the Met’s Serious Collisions Investigations Unit based at Chadwell Heath, admitted that he too was “sceptical” of Mr Woods’ claim to have been drinking shandy that night.
However, no concrete evidence proving otherwise was produced.
Mr Wade also heard from Philip Ritchie, one of the Met’s forensic collision investigators.
Mr Ritchie revealed that speed calculations made using three available CCTV feeds determined that Mr Voyce had been travelling between 61 and 75 miles per hour at the time of the crash.
Main Road’s speed limit is 30mph.
In Mr Ritchie’s opinion, the speed at which Mr Voyce was travelling that night made it impossible for Mr Woods to avoid the collision, and had also contributed substantially to the severity of his injuries.
The court also heard that analysis of Mr Voyce’s blood revealed he had been above the drink drive limit at the time of the crash, and may also have recently ingested cannabis.
Making his conclusion, Mr Wade stressed that it was not within the inquest’s purview to assign blame or criminal liability.
“Sadly, but significantly, the all important fact here is that Craig was not travelling at 30mph,” he said.
“He was travelling at such a high speed that the impact of the crash was catastrophic.”
The cause of Mr Voyce’s death was recorded as multiple injuries, including a brain haemorrhage, with Mr Wade determining that “no palpable criminal offence” was committed by Mr Woods in relation to the cause of the collision.
As the inquest drew to a close, Mr Wade used his final remarks to acknowledge the “dignity and restraint” that Robert Voyce had shown throughout.
He said: “I commend you, sir, for the way in which you have assisted me today, and the way in which you have regulated your own passion and despair.
“I have no way of knowing the suffering you are going through, but I am sure it is immense.”