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Inquest verdict into death of former Evesham man James McLaren
4:20pm Tuesday 12th February 2013 in News
A ROCK music writer originally from Worcestershire died when he walked into the path of a lorry after crashing his car, an inquest was told.
James McLaren, aged 34, a former pupil at Evesham’s Prince Henry’s High School, died on August 6 last year following a collision with a heavy goods vehicle between Magnor and Chepstow on the M48.
Gwent Coroner’s Court heard how Mr McLaren, a BBC Wales assistant producer, was driving home to Cardiff after a weekend spent with friends in Redditch. At about 10am his car veered off the road as it was travelling eastbound on the M48, going through the barrier and into some bushes.
Police found no explanation or defect in the car to explain why Mr McLaren’s car left the road. When Mr McLaren emerged, apparently unscathed, he seemed confused. Witness Dorothy Whitford was travelling westbound on the motorway. She said: “I had a clear view of the eastbound carriageway.
“I could see a blue lorry about a quarter of mile away. I then saw a man walk out from some bushes and walk on to the hard shoulder.” Mrs Whitford said Mr McLaren seemed confused and walked on to the hard shoulder before walking into the path of an oncoming Mercedes articulated lorry.
Although the lorry braked severely and the driver, Michael Lewis, swerved, he could not avoid hitting Mr McLaren.
An investigation by Gwent Police’s forensic collision investigation unit found Mr Lewis, from Rhymney, had done everything he could to avoid hitting Mr McLaren.
Gwent Coroner David Bowen said: “The car driven by Mr McLaren collided with the crash barrier and left the road, and came to rest in some undergrowth. From the evidence given, Mr McLaren appeared to have escaped the incident unharmed.
“Eye witness accounts describe Mr McLaren’s actions as deliberate – he appeared to be trying to attract assistance.
“Despite the first collision leaving him apparently unharmed, it was serious enough to presume Mr McLaren was shocked and possibly concussed.”
A post-mortem examination found Mr McLaren died as a result of multiple injuries.
A blood analysis confirmed there were no drugs or alcohol in his system at the time of his death.
The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.
Following his death many people from the world of music paid tribute to the music journalist, including band Manic Street Preachers and Kerrang! editor James McMahon.
During his career he was also a writer for the Welsh version of the Big Issue.