Inquest into motorcyclist death

TRAGIC DEATH: John Newsome.
TRAGIC DEATH: John Newsome.
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A GRIEVING father has urged motorists not to drink and drive after his son was killed in an horrific motorbike crash.

Alan Newsome said he was lost without his son, John, who was killed on his friend’s bike after drinking cider.

Following John’s inquest on Wednesday, Mr Newsome said drivers should leave their keys and get a taxi if they had been drinking, rather than risking their lives.

The accident in which John, 27, died, happened in September 2010, just a year after Mr Newsome lost his wife, but he said it was a comfort to him that John was buried with his mother.

Huddersfield Coroner’s Court heard that John, who had earlier lost his licence for drink driving, had been drinking cider and had borrowed his friend’s Suzuki GSX-R 600cc motorcycle to go to the shop to get a pig’s ear for his dog.

On his way back, John lost control of the bike on a bend in Birkenshaw Lane. He hit the kerb and another car, then skidded down the pavement and smashed into fences and lamp posts. He finally stopped in a garden.

The owner of the bike, lifelong friend Craig Smith, had been trying to film John on his mobile phone.

Mr Smith said he was experimenting with his new phone’s camera, but had failed to make a film.

He believed John was not too drunk to drive, and thought he had his licence back and was insured.

John suffered massive head injuries and was flown by air ambulance to Leeds General Infirmary, where he died.

A blood test revealed he had drunk the equivalent of eight pints of lager.

Inquest witness Angela Horsfall said she saw John speeding along Birkenshaw Lane, turning and then riding towards Moor Lane even faster, with Mr Smith filming him.

Ms Horsfall did not see the accident but heard a loud bang and ran to the scene. Another neighbour phoned the emergency services.

Collision investigator PC Andrew Oversby told the court that John had often ridden on the road and was aware of the bend. He said officers believed John must have been distracted before hitting the kerb.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, coroner Paul Marks said: “Alcohol almost certainly played a part, although he may have been distracted by attempts to film him.”

Mr Newsome said: “He was such a lovely lad. It’s been awful.

“I have his pictures on my bedroom wall and sometimes I look at them and think, ‘you silly lad’.”