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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 September, 2003, 20:41 GMT 21:41 UK
Dead man's family consider civil action
Laurence Griffiths
Laurence Griffiths died of multiple injuries
The family of a man killed when an out-of-control sports car smashed into him while he was out walking say they may bring a civil action against the driver.

A coroner has ruled Laurence Griffiths' death, as he walked on a pavement along Bassett Avenue in Southampton last November, was accidental.

The driver, Ronald Griffiths (no relation), said at Tuesday's inquest that he was driving no faster than 40 mph when he lost control of his Maserati sports car while swerving to avoid another car coming in the opposite direction.

Other witnesses estimated his speed at more than 50 mph, but the coroner said there is no way of determining how fast he was going.

The crashed Maserati sports car
The Maserati sports car spun out of control on Bassett Avenue
Recording a verdict of accidental death, the coroner said he did not think Ronald Griffiths had been reckless or grossly negligent.

In fact, the driver had been trying to avoid a collision, he said.

But the family of Laurence Griffiths, who died from multiple injuries, say they feel let down by the legal system, and are now considering civil action against the driver.

Laurence Griffiths' daughter, Rachel Griffiths, said after the inquest: "I walked into this court expecting the verdict that we got, but I believe that the law must be changed.

Rachel Griffiths
Rachel Griffiths said her father "taught and informed people"
"The CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) should be made more accountable for the decisions which they come to when deciding whether a case comes to trial or not."

She said of her father: "He showed everyone so much about the world that they lived in.

"He just taught and informed people. He brought so much to people's lives."

The CPS said of the verdict: "Prosecutors must be satisfied that there is enough evidence to provide a 'realistic prospect of conviction'.

"In this case we were not satisfied that the evidential test was met for any offence."

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