Former RAF Cosford serviceman killed in motorbike crash was trying to avoid car, inquest hears

By Lisa O'Brien | Telford | News | Published:

A former RAF Cosford serviceman died when he fell off his motorbike as he tried to avoid crashing into a car at a junction, an inquest heard.

RAF squadron leader Gaz Stevens

Squadron leader Gareth Stevens lost control of his Honda motorbike as he tried to avoid hitting a stationary car in Heythrop, Oxfordshire, on June 29.

Oxford Coroner's Court heard Mr Stevens, who was known as Gaz to friends and family, had "little opportunity" to stop or avoid the car.

Coroner Darren Salter concluded the 39-year-old's death was caused by a road traffic collision.

Mr Stevens' inquest heard that he had been riding behind his friend, squadron leader Thomas Sperring, towards Banbury, on the A361 when he saw the Chrysler Voyager up ahead.

Mr Sperring, who served with Mr Stevens in Afghanistan, said he had also seen the car, which had stopped and was indicating to turn right at a junction.

He said he heard a "screeching and a crunching sound" after passing the vehicle.

The inquest heard after overtaking a car behind the Chrysler, Mr Stevens braked heavily, resulting in "a loss of control".

Coroner Mr Salter said Mr Stevens, from Telford, fell from his motorbike as it slid on and hit the Voyager.


CPR was performed on Mr Stevens, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

A post-mortem examination showed he suffered a fatal neck fracture.


Mr Salter said Mr Stevens' "error of judgement approaching the junction" and the "difficult set of circumstances" he was presented with meant he "could not avoid losing control and coming off his motorcycle".


The coroner added neither Mr Stevens nor Mr Sperring had been riding "dangerously or recklessly".

Mr Stevens was recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in June for his dedication to a project that helps disadvantaged youngsters achieve their potential.

He was previously based at RAF Cosford but had moved to RAF Brize Norton.

During his time at RAF Cosford, Squadron Leader Stevens had been pivotal in setting up the station's programmes for the Jon Egging Trust – a charity that supports young people in difficult circumstances to achieve their potential.

That work was instrumental in him being awarded the Chief of the Air Staffs’ (CAS) Commendation in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

The award was recognition of his work setting up the Jon Egging Trust (JET) Blue Skies programme at RAF Cosford and raising £32,000 for JET and many other charities including RAF Benevolent Fund (RAFBF), and Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA).

Blue Skies is a flagship youth engagement programme, that is described as "an intensive, targeted, early intervention programme working with young people from the age of 10 plus who are often underachieving or come from challenging backgrounds and may be at risk of falling out of education".

Mr Stevens was a former pupil of Harvey Grammar School for Boys, and joined the RAF in September 1998.

Following in his grandfather's footsteps, he initially joined as a propulsion technician and commissioned in 2006 as an engineer officer.

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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