Motorbiker’s fatal crash after night out

Paul Collier-Baker
Paul Collier-Baker

A MOTORBIKE enthusiast who died after ploughing into a roundabout was found to be nearly three times over the legal drink drive limit.

Paul Collier-Baker, of Mount Pleasant in Hastings, suffered fatal chest injuries when he crashed into road signs on a roundabout in Hampden Park on June 19 last year.

An inquest into the 54-year-old’s death was held at Eastbourne Magistrates Court yesterday.

Coroner Alan Craze was told Mr Collier-Baker had travelled to Eastbourne on his 999cc Honda motorbike the day before the fatal accident and enjoyed a night out drinking with friends.

Paul Kirkwood, who lives in the Hydneye, often went out drinking with Mr Collier-Baker and said it was usual for him to stay at his Hampden Park home after a night on the town.

Mr Kirkwood said they returned home at around 3am and his friend fell asleep on the sofa. Later that morning, at around 6am, Mr Kirkwood’s wife heard Mr Collier-Baker get up and leave the house.

His fiancée Maria Keen, who lived with him in Hastings, confirmed he was due at work in Ashford that morning and would have been on his way back home to get changed.

However, Mr Collier-Baker never made it home – he ploughed in to the roundabout on Willingdon Drove outside Gardners Books and died at Eastbourne DGH shortly afterwards.

The toxicology report taken at post-mortem revealed Mr Collier-Baker had a blood alcohol reading of 238mcg in 100ml of blood – the legal drink driving limit is 80mcg.

PC Stuart Medleycott, a crash investigator for Sussex Police, said he felt Mr Collier-Baker had not seen the roundabout early enough and had braked on the give way lines, causing his motorbike to flip. PC Medleycott said the crash was most likely due to the alcohol he had consumed the night before.

Coroner Alan Craze described the death as a ‘tragic case’ and said, “The mistake he made was to go out drinking on the day before he had to go to work in Ashford. That was his first mistake and events followed on from that.” He recorded a verdict of death by road traffic accident.

Speaking after the inquest, Mr Collier-Baker’s wife-to-be paid tribute to Mr Collier-Baker who worked in security and was a member of the Vikings motorcycle club. Fiancée Ms Keen described him as a family man and said, “He has left a lot of empty holes in our hearts and will be sorely missed.”

Ms Keen’s daughter, Coz Keen, who lived with her mother and Mr Collier-Baker, added, “He was happy go lucky.

“He was the family clown and he always tried to be a joker.”