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Tuesday, August 25, 1998 Published at 14:58 GMT 15:58 UK


Girlfriend hears rock star die

Cozy Powell: Confessed to driving "madly"

The girlfriend of seventies rock star Cozy Powell listened on the phone as his car spun out of control at 104mph, killing him instantly, an inquest has heard.

Mr Powell, 50, was talking to girlfriend Sharon Reeve on his mobile phone when his black Saab 9000 turbo crashed on the M4 near Bristol on 5 April.

Ms Reeve said she heard a "terribly loud noise" then Mr Powell said "Oh shit" followed by silence.

She phoned the emergency services when she was unable to ring Mr Powell back.

He was pronounced dead on arrival at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol.

Bristol coroner Paul Forrest recorded a verdict of accidental death.

[ image: Cozy with Whitesnake in 1983]
Cozy with Whitesnake in 1983
Mr Powell, who was over the drink-drive limit and not wearing a seat belt, had complained that he was having trouble finding fifth gear and said he hoped the engine would not seize up because he was driving so fast.

The Saab suffered a rear tyre puncture shortly afterwards that sent it spinning out of control. It hit the central reservation and rolled several times before coming to rest on a grass verge.

Pc Ian Cater, who was off-duty and travelling in the opposite direction at the time of the accident, said he saw Mr Powell's car come "cartwheeling" past him before it landed on its roof.

Mr Powell once said in an interview: "I drive like I drum - madly."

He was well known for his love of fast cars and even raced Mazda saloons for a brief period in the mid-seventies.

Cozy Powell - real name Colin Powell - played with Black Sabbath, Whitesnake and Rainbow.

He had three Top 20 hits in 1973, most notably charting at number three under his own name with Dance with the Devil.

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