Accidental death verdict in teen bike tragedy

Accidental death verdict returned in case of big-hearted 14-year-old killed in bike crash

AN inquest into the death of a 14-year-old boy while cycling in Baldock has delivered a verdict of accidental death.

Jake Chapman, described in a family statement as having a big heart, who thought nothing of helping other people, died from multiple injuries after he was involved in a night-time collision with a car on Norton Road two days after Christmas last year.

At the inquest in Hatfield on Friday, the coroner Edward Thomas concluded after hearing evidence from the driver of the car, Stuart Thornton, and his passenger Danielle Wyatt as well as police investigators, that Mr Thornton “did everything right” in trying to avoid Jake.

Jake, a pupil at Knights Templar School in Baldock, had been wearing dark clothing when he borrowed a new bike which had reflectors but no lights from a friend at Tesco in Baldock. He was cycling without a helmet on the unlit, 60mph stretch of Norton Road and possibly had his mobile phone in his hand when it appears he began to turn across the road at the entrance to North Herts Equestrian Centre.

Mr Thornton had noticed “a small red light” on his nearside and moved into the centre of the road but collided with the bike when it turned in front of him.

Mr Thomas described Jake as “a very nice lad”, who enjoyed football and rugby and had a passion for steam engines. His death was an awful tragedy for everyone involved he said.

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