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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 July 2006, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
Poet tells of wife's crash death
Writer Dannie Abse
Mrs Abse's husband, writer Dannie Abse, was injured in the accident
The inquest into the death of a poet's wife in a car crash has heard a description of what happened from her husband who was in the car with her.

Joan Abse, 78, also a writer, was returning home with Dannie Abse, 81, when their car collided with another and spun out of control.

She was thrown from the car when it overturned on the M4 near Bridgend.

Mr Abse said the crash "happened in an instant". The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.

The inquest at Pontypridd heard the Abses were returning to their home in Ogmore-by-Sea, south Wales, from a reading in Porthcawl at about 2230 BST on 13 June 2005.

Mr Abse said in a statement read out in the coroner's court: "I heard the bang and the crash of the impact. It all happened in such an instant.

There was nothing in front of me. It came out of nowhere
Alison Clayfield

"I was lying with my face towards the ground and managed to push my way through the twisted metal.

"I shouted out 'Joan, are you all right?', but there was no reply."

The Abses' car hit a Mini driven by Alison Clayfield, from Swansea.

Mr Abse said he heard a "youngish, hysterical woman" shouting "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry" following the collision.

Differing account

Ms Clayfield said the Abses' car hit her and spun across the road after she overtook a lorry.

"There was nothing in front of me. It came out of nowhere," she said.

She told the court she saw their car "crossing the lanes in front of me, moving from the left" prior to the collision.

Lorry driver Graham Deacon said Ms Clayfield had overtaken him moments before the crash. He saw Mr Abse bleeding in front of the overturned car and said Mrs Abse, herself a writer, had been "catapulted out through the back".

Coroner Philip Walters said evidence from two lorry drivers did not match Ms Clayfield's account that the Abses were moving out into the road from the hard shoulder.

He said: "The vehicle itself, after having been struck by Ms Clayfield's vehicle, has struck the embankment and has caused the rear of Mrs Abse's passenger seat to turn over backwards and she has shot out of the vehicle."


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