‘Caring’ Hailsham aunt was more than twice the drink-drive limit in fatal A22 collision

An ‘amazing, kind and caring’ aunt from Hailsham died in a road traffic collision while she was more than twice the drink-drive limit, an inquest heard.

Wednesday, 10th April 2019, 11:53 am
Updated Wednesday, 10th April 2019, 12:12 pm

Cathlene Catt, 35, was involved in a single-vehicle collision on the A22 at Golden Cross at approximately 1.30am on September 30, 2018.

An inquest into her death, held in Hastings on Tuesday (April 9), heard she had been driving alone, heading north-west along the A22 when she collided with a traffic island in the centre of the road, outside Marquis motor homes.

The collision caused Miss Catt’s Mini Cooper convertible to veer to the right, across the opposite side of the road and into a hedge, where it rotated clockwise before coming to a rest.

Cathlene Catt's Mini Cooper collided with a traffic island on the A22 at Golden Cross. Picture: Google Street View

The inquest was told Miss Catt suffered a traumatic subdural haematoma in her brain and was pronounced dead at the scene at 2.51am.

Results of a toxicology report, read to the court, found Miss Catt had 196 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood – two and a half times the legal limit – in her system.

Her brother Jim Catt, who was present at the inquest, described his sister as a ‘great auntie’ to his two boys, who she had cared for the day before her death.

He told the court: “She was really nice. She was an amazing, kind and caring person.

“That was almost a fault to her because if someone did something horrible to her it was just the worst thing. She suffered quite badly.”

The court also heard from Christopher Harrison, a serious collision investigator with Sussex Police, who attended the scene on the day of Miss Catt’s death.

Mr Harrison said he found the seat belt was locked, proving it could not have been in use at the time of the collision.

He also said the damage to the car suggested Miss Catt could not have been travelling at a speed of more than 50mph.

The court was told Miss Catt had suffered from mental health problems since the age of 15 and had attempted to take her own life on previous occasions.

In 2016, she was diagnosed with emotionally unstable personality disorder, the court was told.

On the evening of September 29, she had been out for a few drinks after dinner plans had fallen through, the inquest was told, and was seen by her sister acting emotionally.

Assistant coroner for East Sussex Christopher Wilkinson was satisfied there was no evidence to suggest Miss Catt had intended to take her own life.

He told the court: “On the night before her death she had spent a lovely bit of time with her nephews.

“The evening of her death she was in a good mood and she had been for a while.

“The combination of time of night and the presence of alcohol created an inability to control the vehicle.

“This was unintentional and my heart can only go out to (her family) in this way.”

He returned a conclusion of death by road traffic accident.

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