Student teacher who died in crash with police car had been drinking

PUBLISHED: 16:26 21 October 2008 | UPDATED: 13:39 06 May 2010

The wrecked Polo and police Volvo after the crash

The wrecked Polo and police Volvo after the crash

A STUDENT teacher who died in a head-on crash with a police car had been drinking, an inquest heard this week.

Charlotte Edwards, aged 19, had shared a bottle of Champagne with close friend Charlotte Phillips before spending the evening of June 19 last y

Charlotte Edwards died in the crash

A STUDENT teacher who died in a head-on crash with a police car had been drinking, an inquest heard this week.

Charlotte Edwards, aged 19, had shared a bottle of Champagne with close friend Charlotte Phillips before spending the evening of June 19 last year drinking in two St Albans city-centre pubs, Lloyds Bar and the Cross Keys.

Miss Edwards, who was two-and-a-half times over the limit, was later seen driving along Stanborough Road in WGC at speed, with Miss Phillips in the passenger seat. The girls were both former pupils at St Albans High School for Girls.

Miss Edwards' red Volkswagen Polo was spotted by HGV driver John Farley at the Gosling roundabout at around 2am.

Mr Farley, who was in the cab of his Argos lorry, watched as she drove around the roundabout and sped back towards Stanborough Lakes.

Moments later he came across the accident.

He told jurors at Hatfield Coroner's Court: "I saw the Polo at right-angles across the road with steam coming from it. The police car was up on the grass verge on fire."

As emergency services were called to the scene, Mr Farley stayed with Miss Phillips, who was trapped.

The marked police car burst into flames on impact, with injured Pcs Martin Matthews and Karl Goulding inside.

Pc Matthews suffered a broken leg, and Pc Goulding broke an arm.

Miss Edwards, of Greyhound Lane, South Mimms, was pronounced dead at the scene.

In a statement read to the court, Miss Phillips said she did not remember the crash or events leading to it.

The inquest also heard that the police car was travelling at around 80mph when involved in the fatal smash.

Expert witness Sgt Malcolm Jackson told jurors that although evidence showed the patrol car's speed to be 75 to 83mph, Pc Martin Matthews was not driving too quickly.

Sgt Jackson, who has run the driver training school at the police's Stanborough HQ for eight years, said Pc Matthews had attended many advanced courses and was a good driver.

Lee Gledhill, representing Miss Edwards' family, suggested there were inconsistencies between Pc Matthews' recollection of the crash and the evidence.

But Sgt Jackson told the court: "He was more than capable of controlling that car at that speed on that road."

Pcs Matthews and Goulding are due to give evidence.

The inquest continues.

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