Castleford biker Gareth Lacy, 29, died from head, neck and chest injuries, inquest hears

Gareth Lacy, 29, died of head, neck and chest injuries after a collision in Castleford earlier this year.
Gareth Lacy, 29, died of head, neck and chest injuries after a collision in Castleford earlier this year.

Members of the public took photos of a father “breaking down crying” as he found out his son had died, an inquest heard.

Michael Lacy said he had attended the scene of a motorbike crash near his home, but did not initially know that his son, Gareth, had been involved.

Gareth Lacy, 29, died of head, neck and chest injuries after his green Kawasaki motorcycle collided with a blue Vauxhall Zafira at around 5.20pm on Lumley Street, Castleford, on January 6 of this year.

He had overtaken a number of vehicles on the road before the collision with the Zafira, which was turning right onto Rhodes Street.

Kevin McLoughlin, Senior Coroner at Wakefield Coroner’s Court, said that evidence suggested that Mr Lacy had been rendered unconscious as a result of the accident.

Paramedics and the air ambulance attended the scene and administered in excess of 20 minutes of CPR before Mr Lacy was declared dead at 5.57pm.

The driver of the Zafira, Carl Mullaney, was also found to have consumed five pints of lager in the hours before the collision, the court heard.

Andrew Cross, a forensic collision investigator with West Yorkshire Police, said that based on CCTV evidence, Mr Lacy was estimated to have been travelling at approximately 66mph at the time of the collision. The speed limit on Lumley Street is 30mph.

Mr Lacy’s father said: “Somebody informed the wife that there had been an accident with a green bike.

“I wasn’t even told it was Gareth until more than an hour and a half after the accident. I broke down crying. People were looking at us, taking pictures of us breaking down crying.

"We weren’t told it was Gareth until he was dead. I think it was quite disgusting really.”

A toxicology report, compiled as standard following the death, found cannabis in Mr Lacy’s system.

Mr Paul Smith, the toxicologist at Leicester Royal Infirmary, noted in his report that “apart from caffeine and a trace amount of paracetamol, no other drugs were detected”.

Michael Lacy told the court that he accepted his son took some of the blame for the crash, but felt that the police investigation had failed to place enough blame on Mr Mullaney, who was over the drink drive limit.

In tests following the collision, Mr Mullaney was found to be over the drink-driving limit, with 44mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath, compared to the legal limit of 35mg.

In an initial interview, he told police he had consumed two pints before the collision, but further investigation revealed that he had purchased and consumed five pints of lager at a working men's club earlier in the afternoon.

He told police he felt that his drinking did not contribute to the collision, as he had not seen Mr Lacy approaching on his bike.

In a transcript of his interview read to the court, Mr Mullaney said: “One way or another the speed he was doing someone was going to get killed, him or me.”

Mr Mullaney, of Morrison Street, Castleford, has since pleaded guilty to a charge of driving while above the legal limit in relation to the collision, the court heard. He was banned from driving for 14 months, fined £120 and told to pay £115 in costs.

Michael Lacy said he did not believe that Mr Mullaney had not seen his son approaching on his bike, but Mr Cross told the court that there was no way to prove that this was not true.

Mr Cross estimated that less than two seconds had passed between Mr Lacy overtaking the previous vehicle and colliding with the Zafira, and said that it was possible Mr Mullaney had not checked his mirrors in this time.

Eyewitness accounts noted that Mr Lacy, of College Grove, Castleford, had overtaken several vehicles at high speed, crossing to the other side of the road while overtaking, but returning to his own carriageway following the manoeuvre.

Recording a conclusion of road traffic collision, Mr McLoughlin told Mr Lacy’s family: “You have my heartfelt sympathy at the loss of your son, I’m sorry about that.”