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Driver likely fell asleep at wheel prior to fatal Yaxley car crash

Village Signs - Yaxley ENGANL00120121029161846
Village Signs - Yaxley ENGANL00120121029161846

The driver of a car in which a young couple died on the A140 at Yaxley may have fallen asleep at the wheel, an inquest has heard.

Sarah Delf and Oliver Appleby, both aged 24 and from Norwich, had been travelling home when their car drifted into the path of an oncoming lorry on the evening of Sunday, November 15 last year.

On Monday, the inquest at Bury St Edmunds was told that the lorry driver had tried but been unable to avoid an impact.

Police forensic collision investigator PC Andy Fossey said no defects which could have contributed to the accident were found with either the Miss Delf’s Mazda car or the lorry.

It was possible that Miss Delf fell asleep at the wheel, which allowed her car to drift into the wrong lane of the A140 and could account for a lack of skid marks or attempts by her to avert a crash, the inquest was told.

PC Fossey said: “In my opinion there are factors that relate to the incident that Miss Delf fell asleep at the wheel or it could have been an unknown distraction.”

It was not possible to definitely ascertain the cause of the collision, PC Fossey added.

The couple had been travelling back to Norfolk from Margate in Kent where Mr Appleby’s family live.

The inquest heard that post mortem examinations confirmed that Miss Delf and Mr Appleby died as a result of multiple injuries.

Assistant Suffolk Coroner Dr Daniel Sharpstone recorded a conclusion that Miss Delf and Mr Appleby died as a result of a road traffic collision.

In a statement released following the accident, Mr Appleby’s family described the couple, who had met five years earlier at university, as “inseparable.”

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