Page last updated at 11:12 GMT, Wednesday, 4 May 2005 12:12 UK

Champ skater killed avoiding car

Richard Taylor
Richard Taylor tried to change direction when he clipped a kerb

An international in-line skating champion died after he clipped a kerb while trying to avoid a car while on a practice run, an inquest has heard.

Richard Taylor, 23, never regained consciousness after the accident in Barry, south Wales, in August 2004.

Friend Stephen Riddick told how Mr Taylor, who was not wearing a safety helmet, tried to change direction at up to 25mph to avoid an oncoming car.

Cardiff Coroner Dr Lawrence Addicott recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Giving evidence at the hearing on Wednesday, Mr Riddick told how the pair had been skating down steep Harbour Road, known locally at Ship Hill.

He said the two of them were travelling at 20-25mph on in-line skates when Mr Taylor went to cross the road.

"At the last moment Richard must have seen a car, changed his mind and caught his foot on the pavement," he said.

"He caught his leg because I saw his legs go away from each other."

Mr Taylor hit the lamppost with this head and then fell and hit his head on the pavement, said Mr Riddick.

Richard Taylor skating in his home town of Barry
Richard Taylor's organs were donated after his death

The champion skater, who turned professional at 16 and was among the top European in-line skaters, fractured his skull and broke both his legs.

He died in the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff five days later.

Dr Addicott heard that Mr Taylor had suffered only two minor accidents in his career.

In one he had suffered a wrist fracture and in the other, more recently, a dislocated knee, from which he was almost fully recovered.

The court heard told Mr Taylor's organs had been donated to five people.

His parents, Gaynor and John Taylor, attended the hearing.

'Memorial'

Mrs Taylor said afterwards: "Two of the organ recipients have written to us. It makes us realise he hasn't just helped them, he has helped their families as well."

The pair said they would continue to give their support to organ donation services and also said they both hoped for some sort of memorial to their son in Barry, perhaps including a refurbishment of the skate park.

A month before he died, Mr Taylor had won the UK National In-Line Skating championships for the second year running.

The previous winter he had turned his hand to skiing and had won the big air skiing title at the British Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding Championships in France.



SEE ALSO
Skater parents' donor appeal
22 Dec 04 |  Wales
Top skater dies after crash
08 Aug 04 |  Wales
Tributes paid to talented Taylor
08 Aug 04 |  Other sport...

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