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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Cumbrian man died after losing control of car at 120mph

A cannabis smoker died just three days after his father when his car went out of control at 120mph.

John Robson photo
John Robson

John Robson, 22, hit a gate post and a tree before bouncing over a parked car and crashing into a bungalow, an inquest heard.

Coroner David Roberts said: “Maybe he was driving stupidly because of his father’s death, due to the effects of cannabis, through not sleeping or, to scare [his passenger] Mark Appleton,” he said. “Clearly, he was the author of his own misfortune.”

He heard how Mr Robson, of Snebro Road, Whitehaven, died from multiple fractures after his side of the Seat Ibiza took all of the impact.

His passenger, 24-year-old Mr Appleton, suffered minor injuries.

The crash, on June 11 last year at Moresby Parks, came just three days after Mr Robson’s father, also John, died from pancreatic cancer.

Mr Robson junior, who was described as a daily cannabis smoker, had picked up Mr Appleton at 2.30am and asked him to go for a spin.

The inquest heard how Mr Appleton had asked his friend to slow down but he seemed “focused and in a trance.”

“The car took off, lifted off the road,” Mr Appleton said: “We crashed through lots of gates and wooden fences.

“I was struggling to breathe and unable to move. I hit John twice to see if he was all right; I didn’t get a response.”

John’s girlfriend of six years, carer Chloe Pickering, 21, had shared a pizza with him earlier that night but had gone home at around 11pm.

She said he had been close to his dad and was very upset by his death but was coping well with it, better than she thought he would.

“He seemed to change and become a different person saying he was going to make his dad proud and turn his life around,” she said.

“He was a good driver. Even if he was speeding, he knew how to do it. His car was his pride and joy.”

A GP’s report said John had looked for help in February, admitting he had turned to drugs and alcohol following the death of his half-brother Tony in 2009 and wanted to get his life back on track. He had been referred to a help programme but did not return.

Described as ‘nocturnal’ and ‘mad about cars and speed’’ John, unemployed, lived at Snebro Road with his mother, Davinia Green.

John visited his father at his home in Uldale Road, Mirehouse, most days.

“His father’s death affected him but he would hide his feelings,” his mother said. “He seemed to really grow up when his dad died. I thought he would be an emotional wreck. He said we would get through it and stick together as a family.”

A toxicology report revealed John had a cannabis level in his body high enough to have had an effect on his ability to drive.

Mr Roberts recorded a verdict of accidental death.

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