Relative of Stevenage gun shot victim died crossing A1(M) after ‘excessive drinking’

Lulu Ward with her husband Gary and three children Patrick, Lulu and Paris

Lulu Ward with her husband Gary and three children Patrick, Lulu and Paris - Credit: Archant

A mother-of-three who died after colliding with a car on the A1(M) had been involved in “excessive drinking” following the death of a relative, an inquest heard on Tuesday.

Lulu Ward was killed attempting to cross the motorway near to junction 7 for Stevenage, after leaving her 4x4 – which she had been driving while drunk – on the hard shoulder.

The 25-year-old had spent the evening of April 25 at The White Lion pub in Stevenage High Street with family and friends, following the fatal shooting of relative Thomas Ward at a caravan site in Dyes Lane in the town three days earlier.

After the pub closed at around midnight, Mrs Ward drove her Range Rover Freelander with three drunken passengers inside on to the A1(M) at junction 8 for Stevenage, heading southbound.

Hertfordshire coroner Edward Thomas said: “There was a high alcohol content in her blood. I understand there had been excessive drinking. They had been to The White Lion pub and had got together after the death of a relative.

“They left the pub and according to passenger Thomas Dooley, she was swerving a lot and he was trying to persuade her to stop the vehicle.”

Mrs Ward, of Edmonton in London, pulled over on to the hard shoulder of the motorway. She died instantly when she collided with a blue Vauxhall Corsa – travelling at about 70-75mph – while attempting to cross the motorway on foot.

Most Read

Two of the passengers inside her car left the scene, and one of them has never been traced by police.

Mr Edwards said the male driver of the Vauxhall Corsa was still “too upset” to give evidence and that he had been “severely traumatised” about what had happened.

Speaking at the inquest, Pc Robert Jackson, who attended the scene, said: “He was on his way back from work when he hit something, although he didn’t know what it was. He went straight to the police station and made a statement. I don’t think he will ever get over it.

“Lulu was found near the central reservation on the side of the road she had been travelling on, and I believe the collision was near to the centre of the near-side lane. In this instance we don’t believe the brake was applied at the point of impact, but because of the reaction time the driver had no chance of avoiding the collision.”

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Mr Edwards said: “She suffered severe traumatic injuries which would have meant death was instantaneous.

“She came into contact with a vehicle which the driver was unable to do anything about.”

The family asked if a reason for why Mrs Ward was trying to cross the motorway had been established.

Mr Edwards said that in Mr Dooley’s evidence he had said “there was no particular plan to go anywhere else” after leaving the pub.

Mrs Ward’s father James Ward told the Comet after the inquest: “I think she was trying to cross the road to see the flowers that had been left for Thomas Ward.”

Her 18-year-old sister Angel Ward said: “Lulu is sadly missed and we will never forget her.

“She would do anything for us and everything was about her family. We still can’t get over that she’s gone.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter