Sleep de­pri­va­tion was ma­jor fac­tor in fa­tal col­li­sion

Herald Express - - News - BY STAFF RE­PORTER

A“LIKEABLE” young sol­dier from Torquay who crashed into the back of a lorry as he drove back to his bar­racks had hardly slept for 24 hours be­fore dy­ing in the col­li­sion, an in­quest heard.

Gun­ner Joshua Gilbert-Bufton’s fa­tal col­li­sion was due either to fa­tigue or dis­trac­tion, a po­lice col­li­sion in­ves­ti­ga­tor told the in­quest in Glouces­ter. Torquay-born Josh, 20, who was based in Colch­ester with Para­chute Reg­i­ment Royal Horse Ar­tillery, had been vis­it­ing his girl­friend Abi­gail Farr in Here­ford and was on his way back to bar­racks at 4am on May 16 this year when he died on the A417 Crick­ley Hill, just out­side Glouces­ter and Chel­tenham.

Col­li­sion in­ves­ti­ga­tor PC Wil­liam Gib­son said Josh had left his girl­friend’s home at 3am and was driv­ing his VW Golf up Crick­ley Hill, 400 me­tres from the Air Bal­loon round­about, when he hit the back of a fully-laden 40-tonne six-axle lorry. The lorry was do­ing only 20mph at the time.

The car smashed into the lorry and then rolled 50 me­tres back down the hill be­fore com­ing to a stop, said the of­fi­cer.

When po­lice and am­bu­lance ar­rived on the scene Josh was dead. A post mortem found he died from mul­ti­ple skull frac­tures and brain in­jury.

PC Gib­son said it was clear from his in­ves­ti­ga­tions that whether or not the lorry had been in front of Josh at the time, the car was veer­ing off the road to the near side.

He said he had es­tab­lished from Josh’s girl­friend that “he had taken very lit­tle break in terms of sleep within the 24 hours prior to get­ting into the ve­hi­cle.”

There was no al­co­hol or drugs in Josh’s body and no ev­i­dence that he had been us­ing his mo­bile phone in the car, the in­quest was told.

Record­ing a con­clu­sion that Josh died in a road traf­fic col­li­sion, the coro­ner Katy Sk­er­rett said: “As a re­sult of the col­li­sion he sus­tained fa­tal in­juries which would in all like­li­hood have caused his im­me­di­ate death. The rea­son was dis­trac­tion or fa­tigue and both of those could have been in op­er­a­tion at the time.”

RIVERFORD Farm’s an­nual Pump­kin Day was a huge hit with lo­cals and vis­i­tors alike. Pump­kins large and small took cen­tre stage, with the chance to carve them, eat them, draw them and guess their weight. Riverford founder Guy Singh-Wat­son, was at the firm’s Staver­ton head­quar­ters to sign copies of his lat­est book Vegeta­bles, Soil and Hope

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