Mys­tery of why Rob and Amy died

No clear rea­son why teenager’s car left the road ‘They made such a good cou­ple’

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - By Sam Len­non

slen­non@thek­m­group.co.uk The rea­son why a young woman lost con­trol of her car in a crash that killed her and her boyfriend re­mains un­ex­plained.

Amy Clark, 17, who had only passed her driv­ing test nine days ear­lier, had steered left while ne­go­ti­at­ing a right-hand bend on the A20 Maid­stone Road at Char­ing, an in­quest heard yes­ter­day (Wed­nes­day).

Po­lice giv­ing ev­i­dence be­lieved she may have en­coun­tered a dis­trac­tion such as an an­i­mal in the road that she was try­ing to avoid, but that could not be con­firmed.

Miss Clark, of High­field Road, Willes­bor­ough, and her boyfriend, Rob Wilt­shire, 20, of Pay­den Street, Maid­stone, died in the ac­ci­dent on the Maid­stonebound car­riage­way near Char­ing Cre­ma­to­rium at about 10pm on De­cem­ber 29.

The car had hit a tree af­ter go­ing down a bank.

Wit­ness Sarah Austin was a pas­sen­ger in a car when she saw the vic­tims’ Ford Fi­esta down the bank with its rear wheels raised. She called for emer­gency ser­vices at 9.59pm.

Miss Austin, of Char­ing, rushed to the scene and saw the pas­sen­ger lean­ing against the door but was afraid to open it in case she caused more in­jury.

Emer­gency ser­vices ar­rived and Miss Clark was found to be dead. Mr Wilt­shire was un­con­scious. At­tempts to re­sus­ci­tate him failed and both died at the scene.

PC David Kirk said the car had been ex­am­ined and had no con­trib­u­tory de­fects. It had been rain­ing ear­lier that night.

He said both vic­tims had been wear­ing their seat belts. The car had gone down a bank with its front em­bed­ded in soft ground.

PC Kirk said in­ves­ti­ga­tors sug- gested that the car had ro­tated anti-clock­wise be­fore slid­ing down the bank. He did not sus­pect high speed was in­volved and Miss Clark’s mo­bile phone had not been used at the time.

It was be­lieved Miss Clark had ne­go­ti­ated the right-hand bend but steered left, sug­gest­ing she was try­ing to cor­rect the course of the car.

Rab­bit war­ren

The area is known to have a large rab­bit war­ren and a dead rab­bit had been found in the road, but it was not con­firmed that Miss Clark had been try­ing to avoid the an­i­mal.

The in­quest heard from Miss Clark’s mother, Deb­bie Helmer, that her daugh­ter had passed her driv­ing test nine days ear­lier but she was a care­ful driver.

Pathol­o­gist Brigid Maguire said Miss Clark had died from mul­ti­ple in­juries and had no al­co­hol or drugs in her sys­tem. Mr Wilt­shire died from head in­juries.

The in­quest heard that the cou- ple had last been seen on CCTV leav­ing Sains­bury’s at 9.50pm. There had been no wit­nesses to the ac­ci­dent.

Coroner Rachel Red­man recorded a ver­dict of ac­ci­den­tal death on both vic­tims.

She said: “We are not sure as to why this hap­pened as there are no wit­nesses.

“If it is any com­fort to the fam­i­lies, Amy did not suf­fer and Robert had lost con­scious­ness.

“This is a tragic ac­ci­den­tal death, a tragic case in­volv­ing two very young peo­ple.”

Mrs Red­man com­mended the brav­ery of Miss Austin who had raised the alarm.

Af­ter the hear­ing, both vic­tims’ fam­i­lies said they wanted to thank Miss Austin for her ef­forts.

Miss Clark was a for­mer pupil at High­worth Gram­mar School and at the time of her death was an en­gi­neer­ing stu­dent at Can­ter­bury Col­lege.

Mr Wilt­shire was a for­mer pupil at Swade­lands School, Len­ham, and had just qual­i­fied as an elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer.

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