Newport crash victim's partner tells of '18 months of hell'

The partner of a woman killed in a crash in Newport has told of his 18 months of hell.

Michelle Brooks, 52, was a passenger in Graham Sampson’s Mercedes CLK convertible when it aquaplaned on the B5062 at Tibberton, before hitting a grass verge and flipping into a field.

The car, which had the top down on a hot day on August 5 last year, rolled several times before landing on its wheels.

Mr Sampson, a Greenhous technician, had been driving the couple on their way to Asda in Telford when he hit a patch of water in the road, which had leaked from an adjacent field from a farm’s irrigation pump.

A pathologist said that Miss Brooks, a caterer from Rugeley, Staffordshire, died from a head injury.

Crown Prosecution Service proceedings were started against Mr Sampson, but were discontinued.

Giving evidence at Miss Brooks’ inquest at Shirehall, Mr Sampson said: “We approached the stretch of road that bends upwards. All of a sudden I saw all this water on the road. The back of the car swung out and that was the last thing I remember. I was doing about 50mph.”


Collisions investigator PC Nik Stafford told the inquest that Mr Sampson’s tyres were on the wrong way around, and that treads are designed to disperse water to avoid aquaplaning. But he also added that in this case, having seen another car’s dash cam footage which revealed the amount of water on the road, it would be unlikely that the crash would have been prevented if the tyres were on the right way.

He said: “The footage was a short time after the collision from a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction to Mr Sampson. It clearly shows the water in the road.”

He added that it wasn’t feasible to do a police reconstruction as part of the investigation due to the amount of variables involved including the weather, vehicle condition and the state of the road.

David Brooks, Michelle’s brother, asked Mr Sampson about her last moments. Mr Sampson said: “She was just her normal, happy self just having a nice day out. I can’t remember what if we were chatting about anything, I think we were listening to Radio 2.”

Coroner John Ellery offered his condolences and recorded a conclusion that her death was due to a road traffic collision.

After the hearing, Mr Sampson said: “I still can’t make any sense of it. It’s been 18 months of hell.”

Mr Brooks said: “She was getting her life together and she was happy for once. I still don’t really understand what happened and I don’t think I ever will.”

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