Family finally get answers over Newport Free Grammar School teen’s death

10:42 29 May 2014

Lucinda Burnell

Lucinda Burnell

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Questions surrounding the death of a Widdington teenager following a three-vehicle crash on the A11 have finally been answered – 30 months after the accident.

Lucinda May Burnell, 17, known as Lucy, died at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, on December 22, 2011, following a car crash near the Four Wentways roundabout the previous night.

She had been a passenger in her friend Max Drane’s Vauxhall Corsa when it crashed into a broken down trailer and van before being hit by an Alfa Romeo.

Questions had been raised about the position of the trailer – it was being towed by a van when a wheel came off and there was insufficient room to get both the van and trailer off the dual carriageway – and about the length of time it took to get Lucy to hospital, 40 minutes.

At a two-day inquest at Huntingdon Law Courts last week, Coroner Belinda Cheney said the severity of Lucy’s injuries were not appreciated at the first contact with paramedics, but was told the medical staff did everything by the book. She recorded a verdict that Lucy had died as a result of a road traffic collision.

The court also heard from crash investigator Simon Burgin who said it had been an error of judgement for the Corsa to move into the inside lane where the trailer overhung the road.

The second collision with the Alfa Romeo – which was thought to have caused Lucy’s fatal injuries – was described as unavoidable.

Ms Cheney said multiple factors had contributed to the Newport Free Grammar School student’s death and offered her condolences to the family.

She said: “I hope this, if it has done nothing else, has given you an 
opportunity to ask questions and get some answers.”

Lucy’s father, Mark, said: “We have spent the past 30 months bereft, trying to understand the complex series of tragic events that led to Lucy’s untimely death. Whilst our small family will never recover from the loss of Lucy, the inquest has finally brought us some long-sought comfort and allowed us to assimilate what actually happened.

“We would like to place on record our immense gratitude to Belinda Cheney and South Cambridgeshire coroner’s office for their thorough investigation and presentation of the harrowing facts, and providing the answers to many questions 
previously unanswered.”

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