Pontefract grandma’s Essex coach-crash death was ‘accident’

The incident scene.
The incident scene.
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A coroner has recorded a verdict of accidental death after a grandmother from Pontefract died in a coach crash in Essex.

Delia Walker, 63, was among 49 passengers headed for a day trip in Belgium when a lorry crashed into the back of the coach on the M11 in April last year.

Mrs Walker, of Central Avenue, Fitzwilliam, was trying to sleep on the back seat of the bus when it pulled over on to the hard shoulder and a lorry carrying carrots ploughed into it.

The driver of the lorry, Zdzislaw Piorko, 53, was also killed in the crash, which happened at around 2.20am on April 30.

They both suffered multiple injuries and died at the scene.

There were 49 passengers on the coach, operated by Ross Travel Group of Featherstone, which had left Pontefract at 9.30pm bound for Adinkerke in Belgium.

Mrs Walker was travelling with her daughter Julie Richardson, 44, who attended the inquest at Chelmsford Coroner’s Court.

The inquest heard that the coach pulled over on to the hard shoulder near Saffron Walden after a warning light came on for the second time in 15 minutes.

It had been stationary for one minute and 20 seconds when the HGV ploughed into it.

Giving evidence at yesterday’s inquest, PC David Howard said: “For reasons unknown, the articulated lorry crossed the dividing line into the hard shoulder and its nearside front collided with the offside rear of the stationary coach.

“The lorry driver was not under the influence of drink or drugs but we cannot exclude that fatigue or illness may have been the cause. The coach was completely on the hard shoulder.”

Essex coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray recorded that both Mrs Walker and Mr Piorko died as a result of an accident.

Tony Burdin, chief executive of Sheffield Mutual Friendly Society

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