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Driver was banned from roads and over alcohol limit at time of fatal Hillington crash, inquest told

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A driver who died in a crash on the A148 in West Norfolk was banned from the roads at the time of the incident.

An inquest today heard that James Edward Pearse was thrown from his car following the collision in Hillington.

The court in Norwich was also told he was more than twice the alcohol limit and had been driving at more than 100 miles per hour shortly before the crash.

The fatal crash happened on the A148 at Hillington.
The fatal crash happened on the A148 at Hillington.

Mr Pearse, who was 23, was fatally injured when his blue Audi A4 estate car, travelling towards Fakenham, hit a wall on Lynn Road, Hillington, shortly after 2am on January 15 this year.

The court heard he had swerved to avoid a lorry travelling in the opposite direction.

The driver's door was ripped off the vehicle and a nine-metre section of wall was demolished in the impact. A shed was also badly damaged.

Mr Pearse, of Stonefield Road, Baconsthorpe, near Holt, was pronounced dead at the scene shortly afterwards. Three passengers who had been travelling with him were not seriously hurt.

The court heard Mr Pearse, who was due to become a father, had been in Lynn with friends, having driving there via Sheringham and Cromer, before leaving after a fight. All of them had been drinking while in the car.

CCTV footage showed his car went the wrong way around the Knights Hill roundabout and entered the A148 towards Hillington on the Lynn-bound side of the road.

As the car travelled towards Hillington, one of the passengers said in a statement that she had seen the car's speedometer showing 120 miles per hour.

Another said he believed they had been going even faster.

He added that, earlier in the evening, he had been left hanging onto the car's roof rack when Mr Pearse drove off at speed before he had got in.

The court was also told that, before swerving out of the lorry's path, Mr Pearse had been doing a "car dance" along the middle of the road.

At the moment of impact, the car's speedometer was frozen at 55 miles per hour, nearly twice the 30 limit in force at the scene.

A forensic collision investigation said there were no defects on the road or the car, which Mr Pearse had acquired a few days earlier, which would have contributed to the crash.

Toxicology reports showed he was around two and a half times the legal alcohol limit at the time. A post-mortem examination gave the medical cause of death as multiple injuries.

A statement from Mr Pearse's mother said she had been "shocked" to learn that he was killed in a road collision because he did not have a licence and was applying to get it back.

The court heard he was a disqualified driver and she said his passengers would have known that.

However, they said they were all confident of Mr Pearse's ability to control the vehicle.

Assistant coroner Simon Milburn concluded Mr Pearse died as a result of a road traffic collision.

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