Fa­tal ac­ci­dent was un­avoid­able, coroner tells driver

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - by Sam Len­non slen­non@thek­m­group.co.uk

A VAN driver was told there was noth­ing he could have done to avoid an ac­ci­dent that killed a fa­ther and his son in their car.

Richard Ay­lott tried to avoid a Peu­geot that pulled out into his path but the two ve­hi­cles col­lided and John and Christo­pher Hock­ing died, an in­quest heard.

Speak­ing at the in­quest last Thurs­day, Coroner Rachel Red­man said: “Mr Ay­lott did take avoid­ing action by mov­ing to the cen­tral reser­va­tion but there was noth­ing he could do to avoid it.”

The two men died af­ter their car, driven by ex-po­lice­man Mr Hock­ing se­nior, pulled out of an Esso garage onto tshe A20 Maid­stone Road, Hoth­field, at 5pm last New Year’s Eve.

Mr Ay­lott, of High Street, Char­ing, said he had been trav­el­ling to­wards Lon­don in a Volk­swa­gen Trans­porter.

He told the in­quest: “I as­sumed he would let me pass. All of a sud­den he was straight in front of us. I tried to steer away but it was so quick.”

Both Mr Ay­lott and one of his two pas­sen­gers, fi­ancee Ge­or­gia Gethin, were hurt in the crash.

Er­ror

Ac­ci­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tor PC Terry Collins said CCTV had shown the Peu­geot mov­ing from the fore­court onto the road without brak­ing.

He said: “I can only de­scribe it as that he was pulling out of the fore­court as if no one was there.”

He said Mr Hock­ing se­nior would have been able to see the ap­proach­ing van and was “com­pletely at a loss” to ex­plain why he had done it.

He said: “It must have been an er­ror on the part of Mr Hock­ing.”

PC Collins said it had also been found that Mr Hock­ing se­nior had not been wear­ing his seat but and it could not be con­firmed whether his son was wear­ing his.

Mr Ay­lott be­lieved he had been trav­el­ling at 55mph, which re­flected a po­lice es­ti­mate.

The in­quest heard that the na­tional speed limit for that road and that type of van was 50mph but that had not been raised as a fac­tor in the ac­ci­dent.

A post mortem showed that Mr Hock­ing se­nior had no al­co­hol in his blood and nei­ther ve­hi­cle had de­fects that would have con­trib­uted to the crash.

Both vic­tims died from mul­ti­ple in­juries.

Mr Hock­ing se­nior, 76, of Maid­stone Road, Hoth­field, died at the scene and Mr Hock­ing, ju­nior, 50 of New Rents, Ash­ford, died later at Ash­ford’s William Har­vey Hospi­tal.

Mrs Red­man recorded an ac­ci­den­tal death ver­dict for both men.

The scene of the fa­tal ac­ci­dent on the A20 near Hoth­field

Chris Hock­ing

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