Back­packer died in In­dia road hor­ror

Stockport Express - - Front Page - BY KIM PILLING

ABACKPACKER from Bramhall died in In­dia af­ter she and her friend came off a mo­tor­bike and fell into the path of an on­com­ing lorry, an in­quest heard.

Han­nah Whit­ley, 23, and Daniel Bul­gacs, 39, from Hal­i­fax, West York­shire, were thrown from the hired ve­hi­cle on a sharp left-hand bend on a two-lane coun­try road in Goa on De­cem­ber 22 last year.

Fel­low Briton Gary Powell was fol­low­ing them at the time on his own 350cc bike, but lost sight of the pair as he ap­proached the bend.

Stock­port Coro­ners’ Court heard Mr Powell could not see his friends and was knocked un­con­scious as he could not avoid crash­ing into the back of the bike.

When he re­cov­ered, he found Ms Whit­ley and Mr Bul­gacs had died at the scene from blunt trauma in­juries.

Mr Powell was un­able to say where both were lo­cated at the time of im­pact, the in­quest was told.

Coro­ner Chris Mor­ris said Mr Powell’s state­ment was the best ev­i­dence avail­able to the court as a crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the In­dian author­i­ties into the lorry driver’s al­leged rash and neg­li­gent driv­ing is on­go­ing.

The probe could take up to four years to con­clude, the court heard.

Ms Whit­ley and Mr Bul­gacs met in Goa while on sep­a­rate Far East breaks, with the pair also meet­ing Mr Powell, who lives in In­dia for part of the year.

The trio went on a ride to an old Por­tuguese fort, with Ms Whit­ley rid­ing pil­lion on Mr Powell’s bike and ex­pe­ri­enced mo­tor­cy­clist Mr Bul­gacs hir­ing a sim­i­lar ve­hi­cle.

How­ever, on the re­turn jour­ney Ms Whit­ley was on the front of the hire mo­tor­bike with Mr Bul­gacs ‘most likely’ train­ing her on how to ride.

Mr Powell said he as­sumed the pair would only ride a short dis­tance, but later saw them go over a speed bump and nearly lose con­trol.

He said he told them they were be­ing ‘stupid,’ but he added Ms Whit­ley seemed happy to ride the bike as they con­tin­ued on.

Giv­ing ev­i­dence, Sascha Whit­ley said his daugh­ter was ‘liv­ing the dream’ trav­el­ling af­ter she quit her job and was plan­ning to re­turn to the UK in the sum­mer to con­tinue her ca­reer.

He said: “She had just qual­i­fied as a char­tered ac­coun­tant a few months be­fore she went. Ev­ery­one loved her at work, she was bril­liant at her job.

“She was fun lov­ing. She was liv­ing her dream at that point.”

Mr Whit­ley said he was in con­tact with his daugh­ter ev­ery day af­ter she left the UK with a friend on De­cem­ber 12 as they planned to also visit Viet­nam and Thai­land.

Mr Bul­gacs’s mother, Chris­tine Wain­wright, told the in­quest her son was a ‘lad’s lad’ who liked go­ing to fes­ti­vals and was seen as a ‘free spirit.’

She said he too had left home ear­lier in De­cem­ber and had planned to go on to Cam­bo­dia and Thai­land.

She said her son, who ran his own suc­cess­ful busi­ness trad­ing on eBay, owned a mo­tor­bike and had driv­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tions from his time in the Army.

Mrs Wain­wright said: “He loved trav­el­ling. He said In­dia was amaz­ing and he had met some re­ally nice peo­ple.”

Mr Mor­ris recorded that Ms Whit­ley and Mr Bul­gacs died as a re­sult of a road traf­fic col­li­sion.

●●Han­nah Whit­ley, who was killed in a mo­tor­bike crash in Goa

●●Daniel Bul­gacs

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