Cyclist’s death on A509 between Wollaston and Wellingborough was accidental, inquest hears

The inquest was held at the Kettering Council offices
The inquest was held at the Kettering Council offices

A coroner has ruled that the death of a cyclist who collided with a car on a busy road near Wellingborough was accidental.

Karen Cowper, 44, of Abbey Road, Wellingborough, died on August 10 last year at Walsgrave Hospital, Coventry, after being admitted two days earlier when the bicycle she was riding collided with an oncoming car on the A509 between Wellingborough and Wollaston.

A statement read out at today’s inquest by Dr Thomas Billyard, consultant intensive care medicine at Walsgrave Hospital, said Karen had received surgery for her injuries but her condition deteriorated on August 9 and she died the next day.

Coroner Anne Pember read a statement from Ronald Brain, who was driving the Renault Clio which collided with Karen near the entrance to Abbey Farm.

He had been to Wellingborough to visit his brother and after some shopping was heading home to Bozeat at about 12.30pm.

Mr Brain, who was in the car on his own, said he was travelling at between 45mph and 50mph.

His statement said: “I saw what I first thought was a child on a pushbike at the entrance of the farm.”

The next time he saw her was when the cyclist came across the carriageway.

Members of the public ran to help Karen and Mr Brain got a cushion and a blanket from his car for her.

His statement said: “I know there was nothing I could have done to avoid hitting the cyclist.

“Even though I braked and swerved, it was all too instant.”

James McLaughlin, of Kettering, was driving a 7.5 tonne lorry behind Mr Brain at the time and he said: “She rode straight into the path of a blue Renault Clio.”

He said Mr Brain ‘had no chance’ of avoiding the cyclist and thought he was driving at no more than 50mph on the road, which has a 60mph limit.

A statement from Karen’s brother Desmond Cooper said the mother-of-one was born in Wellingborough and lived her whole life there.

He said: “She enjoyed the simple life - gardening, shopping and family, she wasn’t a materialistic person.”

And he added: “Karen’s life ended far too soon.

“She was always positive, always had a smile on her face and she worked very hard.”

He said they are trying to move forward with their lives because ‘that’s what Karen would have wanted.’

PC Brian Johnson, forensic collision investigator for Northants Police, told the inquest in Kettering: “It appears the cyclist has failed to see or appreciate the presence of the approaching vehicle.

“And I suggest the cyclist has entered the road when there was very little distance between her and the Renault Clio.

“There appears to be no time or distance for the driver of the Renault Clio to take any averting action to avoid the collision.”

Coroner Anne Pember, who recorded a verdict of accidental death, added: “I do feel that it’s important to say that there was absolutely nothing Mr Brain could have done to avoid this tragic accident.”