Accidental death verdict at inquest into woman killed on St Mary’s fire diversion

JEAN Allen drowned after her car rolled into a ditch as she was taking a diversion away from the arson attack which destroyed St Mary’s Church in March. A coroner today recorded a verdict of accidental death.

The 66-year-old had just been cleared of breast cancer after an appointment at Peterborough District Hospital when she tried to overtake an articulated lorry.

The mother-of-three’s Honda Civic then spun out of control as it hit a grass verge and landed upside down in a water-filled dyke after somersaulting in the air. Mrs Allen was pronounced dead at the scene.

At an inquest into her death today, coroner William Morris said: “This is simply one of those cases of a driver losing control of her vehicle while driving it.”

He recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Mrs Allen had take a diversion after the arson attack at St Mary’s Church on March 15 this year.

Lorry driver Peter Dudley, of Waterside Gardens, March, was transporting potatoes to Greenvale at Floods Ferry, March when Mrs Allen came up behind him at 40mph.

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Fellow motorist Peter Slater said he thought Mrs Allen had been tailgating the lorry and braced himself as she pulled in to complete the move.

“The next thing I saw was the car barrel-rolling,” he said. “I saw the actual wheels of the car above the top of the lorry.”

Police confirmed Mrs Allen’s Honda Civic had no mechanical defect that could have contributed to the crash.

Mr Morris added that Mr Dudley “was not responsible in any way for what happened”.

Mrs Allen’s widower Frank did not attend proceedings at Wisbech Magistrates’ Court but said: “This has devastated the lives of me and my whole family.”

“I often think that if the fire hadn’t happened then my wife would have been here today.”

He has now called on Cambs Times readers to help catch the culprits of the fire. A police investigation is still ongoing.

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