Page last updated at 12:40 GMT, Friday, 20 February 2009

Coroner's pledge over crash cause

(Clockwise from top left) Ross Johnson, Joshua Drinkwater, Tom Hudson and Jay Thompson
Four teenagers and a man and a woman died in the crash

The coroner opening the inquests into the deaths of six people in a head-on crash in Nottinghamshire said he would hear the full case "within weeks".

Ross Johnson, 19, Thomas Hudson, 17, Jay Thompson, 18, and Joshua Drinkwater 18, died in the crash on the A614 near Bilsthorpe on Friday night.

Jonathan and Christine Bray, of Thoresby Avenue, Edwinstone, also died.

Notts Coroner Dr Nigel Chapman pledged to investigate the crash quickly because of the level of interest.

Full police report

There has been speculation that the road is too dangerous and local people have described the area as an accident blackspot.

Road safety minister James Fitzpatrick visited the scene on Tuesday but said the authorities should wait for the results of the investigation before taking any action to slow traffic on the road.

We believe they were all dead or unconscious before the fire started
Dr Nigel Chapman
Nottinghamshire coroner

Dr Chapman said the cause of death for Mrs Bray was multiple injuries. The cause of death for the other five victims was multiple injuries and severe burns.

He added the other five were probably dead or unconscious before the cars caught fire.

"You can never be 100% but Christine Bray was pulled out of the car and had died from multiple injuries.

"We know that all the other five had multiple injuries and from our examination and from the pathologist's examination, we believe they were all dead or unconscious before the fire started."

The inquest heard Mrs Bray was identified after the crash but the other victims were identified by a forensic dental expert.

Dr Chapman said he planned to resume the inquest "within weeks and not months as it would normally take" to reveal the facts behind the crash.

"There has been a lot of speculation and it's unwise to speculate the cause of this accident until the full examination by the police has taken place. Speculation does not help," said Dr Chapman.

"I have asked the police, because of the severity and the amount of interest it has generated with MPs and transport ministers attending, to get this file to me as quickly as possible so we can release the full facts as to what happened in the accident."

He adjourned the inquest on Friday morning.


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