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Fatal crash trike rider had taken illegal drugs

Suffolk Coroners Court
Suffolk Coroners Court

The judgement of a motorcyclist killed in a Lakenheath crash may have been affected by illegal drugs, an inquest has heard.

Malcolm Lawless, 58, was fatally injured when his Suzuki motor-tricycle was in head-on collision with a BMW car on Eriswell Road on July 30.

An inquest today at Suffolk Coroners Court, Ipswich, heard Mr Lawless, of The Street, Eriswell, died less than an hour and a half after arriving at the West Suffolk Hospital.

Toxicology tests by Imperial College, London, revealed cannabis and cocaine in his body .

Ryan Lawless told the inquest he spent the day of the crash with his father, who had ridden motorcycles for 42 years, and during that time he took no substances. He said his father would not have ridden his bike if he had felt under the influence.

In a statement, BMW driver Toby St Julian, who was returning home to Mundford with his wife, said as he went into a bend, at about 40mph, he saw another vehicle approaching, then realised it was on his side of the road.

On impact, the trike rider was thrown against the car windscreen.

A post mortem showed Mr Lawless died as a result of severe multiple head and chest injuries.

Forensic collision investigator Pc Andrew Fossey said a skid mark indicated one of the brakes on the trike had locked up immediately before the impact, which suggested Mr Lawless had braked hard as he began to negotiate the bend.

Pc Fossey said he believed the most likely cause of the crash had been Mr Lawless entering the bend at what he perceived to be too fast, although no evidence had been found of speeding by either driver.

“In the absence of any other evidence, it is my opinion that his judgement may have been affected by the use of illegal drugs” said Pc Fossey.

Suffolk area coroner Nigel Parsely said: “We will never know what caused Malcolm to brake so violently, causing his vehicle to travel from his carriageway into the path of the BMW.”

Mr Parsley recorded a conclusion Mr Lawless died as the result of a road collision.

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