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A47 crash victim likely to have fallen asleep at the wheel, inquest hears

PUBLISHED: 15:11 20 July 2018 | UPDATED: 16:27 20 July 2018

Robert Liggett died in a collision on the A47 at Scarning. Picture: Ian Burt

Robert Liggett died in a collision on the A47 at Scarning. Picture: Ian Burt

A 69-year-old man who died in a crash on the A47 may have fallen asleep at the wheel, an inquest has heard.

Robert Liggett, of Mill Farm Nurseries, Swaffham, was driving on the A47 in Scarning, near Dereham, when he veered on the wrong side of the road and crashed into two cars.

Mr Liggett died at the scene after sustaining multiple injuries, on September 30, 2017.

At an inquest in King’s Lynn Coroner’s Court this morning, the court heard Mr Liggett had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and type 2 diabetes but that he was not hypoglycemic at the time of the crash.

In a witness statement Chris Morter, from Swaffham, said he was driving behind Mr Liggett on the day of the crash.

He said he had noticed Mr Liggett’s car slowing down and speeding up and weaving over the centre white lane and he decided to call the police at around 7.42pm.

Mr Liggett’s erratic manner of driving continued for 7.5 miles before he drove on the opposite lane and collided with two cars. Both drivers escaped with minor injuries.

PC Paul McKay, of the serious collision investigation team, said in his statement that he found no mechanical faults with any of the cars involved in the collision.

He said that while it is not known what caused Mr Liggett to drive in such a manner, the most likely explanation was that he had fallen asleep.

He said the hospital notified him that Mr Liggett, who worked as a cleaner, had a poor sleep routine - he normally went to bed around midnight and woke up at 3.30am for work at 5am.

But Mr McKay added that the first collision would have been likely to have woken him up and some form of action would have been taken.

He suggested, as Mr Liggett kept driving onwards, that he may have fell unconscious before colliding with the second car.

After hearing all the evidence, senior coroner Jacqueline Lake delivered the conclusion of road traffic collision.

She said she was satisfied the other drivers involved in the crash were driving in a careful and correct manner and offered her condolences to Mr Liggett’s family.

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