One armed biker died in high speed crash, inquest heard

First published in News by , Senior Reporter

A MOTORCYCLIST, who had lost an arm in a previous accident, was probably travelling at about 120mph when he fatally crashed into the central reservation of a dual carriageway, an inquest heard.

An inquest heard that 35-year-old Christopher Newe was a passionate motorcyclist, despite having lost his right arm following a motorcycle accident in August 2001. Mr Newe, who had a prosthetic arm, had also had a less serious motorcycle accident in 2007 in which he fractured his left hand.

The inquest was told that speed was the most significant factor in the fatal accident on the A303 at Micheldever, and that the motorbike, which had been specially adapted because of Mr Newe’s disability, was in “first-class” condition.

The tragedy happened when Mr Newe, of Tiverton Road, Winklebury, Basingstoke, was out for an evening ride with three friends on June 20. The group had travelled through Alton and to Stockbridge before heading back to Basingstoke on the A303.

The fatal accident happened after Mr Newe inexplicably accelerated away from his friends, and minutes later collided with the central reservation barrier shortly after 8pm.

HGV driver Brian Vintner, of Cumberland Avenue, Basingstoke, was one of those riding with Mr Newe. He said that his friend had been keen to start riding again after he lost his arm, adding: “Chris was one of those people that no matter what you threw at him, he’d take it on the chin.”

Mr Vintner said he didn’t know why Mr Newe had accelerated away from the group.

Gillian Markham described hearing a “loud whooshing noise” and then seeing Mr Newe pass her company car, an Audi, at a speed “faster than I had seen anyone else drive”. She then saw his bike wobble as he went round a bend ahead of her but lost sight of him.

She told the Winchester inquest that when she came to round the bend, she “just saw the bike and him 20 feet up in the air”.

Mrs Markham, of Berewyk Close, Basingstoke, pulled on to the hard shoulder and called 999. She left her car to alert other drivers by waving her arms, telling Central Hampshire coroner Grahame Short: “I didn’t want him to get run over.”

PC Michael Gunby, of Hampshire Police, said the traffic was light and the weather fine on the night of the accident.

He told Mr Short that Mr Newe, who died at the crash scene, must have been braking “sufficiently to lock the wheel”, and he estimated the motorbike would have been travelling at around 120mph. He said that speed would have made it almost impossible to control the bike after the wheel locked.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Mr Short said: “It is an understatement to say this was a terrible tragedy.”

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