A45 fatal crash was ‘unlawful killing’

Joanna Smith
Joanna Smith

A young pharmacist who crashed after her tyre was deliberately slashed was unlawfully killed, a coroner has ruled.

A coroner has ruled that Joanna Smith, 31, died as a result of the criminal act in April 2012.

The inquest at County Hall in Northampton today (Thursday) heard Joanna had been travelling to her job as a pharmacist at Irchester Co-op from her home in Northampton when witnesses saw her rear tyre about to blow out.

She suddently veered into the central reservation, then swerved across both lanes hitting a crash barrier before her car slipped, crashing into a road sign.

In a statement to coroner Anne Pember, her neighbour Rachael Knight told the court how she had found her own tyres slashed on the morning of the incident.

Another witness said that he saw Joanna’s tyre was flat 30 minutes before the incident which happened on the A45 near Earls Barton.

Police investigators found three attempts had been made to slash Joanna’s tyres, with one of them successful.

A police investigation into the incident is still open, although no charges have been made and police believe it is now unlikely they will find the perpetrators.

Coroner Anne Pember said: “Joanna was only 31-years-old, recently married and she had her whole life ahead of her.

“It’s truly shocking and unbelievable that anyone would deliberately cause damage to Joanna’s car, and whoever caused that damage in my view is directly responsible for her death.”

Joanna’s husband of nine months, John Smith, said: “The verdict of unlawful killing has not come as a surprise.

“The people responsible for this remain at large, although the chances of them being caught look slim.”

Speaking directly to those who have any information about who slashed the tyres, John, who used to be a sports reporter for the Northants Telegraph, said: “You know who did it, you know who it was, look at the pain and upset you have caused to many innocent people’s lives.

“Joanna was an innocent person who didn’t deserve this.

“If not me, give her mum and her sister some closure.”