Elderly couple died after wife drove into path of lorry on A49, inquest hears

An elderly woman drove deliberately into the path of a lorry and caused a crash in which both she and her husband died, an inquest heard.

The crash happened on the A49 near Ludlow. Photo: @SouthShropCops
The crash happened on the A49 near Ludlow. Photo: @SouthShropCops

At the inquest into the deaths of Monica Bashford and her husband, David, senior coroner for Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin Mr John Ellery said it was a double tragedy.

He said there was nothing the lorry driver could have done to avoid the collision on the Ludlow bypass and that Mrs Bashford had deliberately manoeuvred on to the wrong side of the road.

Mrs Bashford, 79, from Richards Castle, was the carer for her husband, David, 78, who had Parkinson’s and was immobile, he said.

The inquest at the Shirehall, Shrewsbury, yesterday, heard the crash happened on January 24 on the A49 Ludlow bypass.

In a statement the lorry driver, Shaun Jones, said when he first saw the red Skoda coming towards him it was on the correct side of the road.

“About 20 metres away it suddenly veered out on to my side of the road, head-on,” he said.

His statement said he tried to veer his lorry away but it was too late. “It happened in a matter of seconds.”

Accident investigators found that neither Mr nor Mrs Bashford were wearing seatbelts and that the Skoda had been travelling at about 50 miles an hour.

The inquest was told that Mrs Bashford had asked a friend to go along to the couple’s home that morning to help get Mr Bashford into the car, saying that he had a dentist’s appointment.

However there had been no dentist appointment, Mr Ellery said.

The man said he had ensured Mr Bashford had his seatbelt on.

A family statement said Mrs Bashford usually drove at about 25 to 30 miles an hour. The couple were inseparable and would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this year.

Mr Ellery said there was sufficient evidence that Mrs Bashford intended to kill herself and recorded a conclusion of suicide.

“I had to consider whether it was a suicide pact, but there is no evidence and I cannot speculate,” he said.

“Did David Bashford agree with his wife’s plan, we do not know.

“We know he asked when he was being put into the car where he was going.”

The coroner recorded a narrative conclusion that David Bashford died, together with his wife, but with unknown knowledge or intent leading up to the collision.

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