Inquest into motorcyclist’s death on A267 near Mayfield

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A MOTORCYCLIST out for a May Bank Holiday spin with friends overtook two cars but lost control on a bend.

An Eastbourne inquest heard how Gary Webb, 53 of Swanley, Kent crashed on the A267 near Mayfield. He survived, but died two weeks later in hospital.

Mr Webb was taken into intensive care in Kings College Hospital, London on May 2 with multiple injuries to his pelvis, leg and head. He appeared to be recovering but suffered from cardiac arrest on May 19.

East Sussex Coroner Alan Craze read a report from a consultant neuropathologist which said Mr Webb’s death was due to a pulmonary embolism which led to deep vein thrombosis as a result of multiple traumatic injuries.

The inquest heard that telecoms engineer Mr Webb was an experienced motorcyclist. Mr Craze read a report from his widow, Lorraine which described how he went out with his mates for a ride most Sundays and also attended local bike events.

On that Monday he left Swanley at 8.30am to join other riders en route to Hastings.

Philip Packman from Tonbridge was driving a Citroen Picasso people carrier with his partner and three children from Tunbridge Wells to Drusillas, Alfriston.

He said: “I knew there were lots of bikes out. Passing through Frant a lot passed us.” Just by Mark Cross three overtook him but there were two still behind. One went past. “Just towards Mayfield a bike came out. I went: ‘What was he doing there – he couldn’t see what was coming.’ I was doing 60 so he must have been doing 70-plus.”

As the bike pulled in in front, Mr Packman said the rear wheel wobbled, the bike stood up and flipped over and threw the rider off. He landed on the road.

Alan Crouch from Langton Green was driving a Peugeot 306 estate to Hailsham with his wife and grandchild in the back. He also saw five bikes behind him, three came past followed by another. As he neared the apex of the bend on the A267 the fifth bike came past. “He just lost it – I can’t explain why. He was in the wrong position. He just got it wrong.”

Camille D’Espagnac from Heathfield was driving north from home to Lakeside shopping centre. She came round the bend, saw the bike, called out ‘Oh my God’ and saw the back wheel wobble. She went on: “The rider came into the air with his arms up like Superman. He’d tried to balance the bike but could not handle that turn. I think he’d entered the bend in the wrong position, overcompensated and landed face down.”

Police investigator PC Simon Lane was called to a serious road traffic crash on the A267 at 12.04. He described a sweeping right hand bend and said the bike and rider had too much ‘lean’ to deal with the bend which put both under too much pressure. Mr Craze recorded a verdict of death due to a road traffic accident.