Stourton mystery crash biker was twice over legal drink limit

Motorcyclist Richard Garfield who died in what a coroner called a genuine tragedy

Motorcyclist Richard Garfield who died in what a coroner called a genuine tragedy

First published in News

AN experienced motorcyclist who died in a mysterious Stourton crash was twice over the drink/drive limit.

Richard Garfield suffered fatal chest and head injuries when his 600cc bike hit the boundary wall of a house on Bridgnorth Road at its junction with Wollaston Road.

Unanswered questions surrounded the incident, which happened on August 12 last year in clear, dry conditions as 47-year-old Mr Garfield rode from Wollaston towards Kinver at around 10pm.

An inquest at Cannock Coroner's Court was told post mortem toxicology tests revealed the alcohol level in Mr Garfield's blood was one-and-a-half times the legal limit and his urine contained levels over twice the limit.

Pc Mark Mould, an expert crash investigator, said: "His speed was too fast for the bend and he was on the incorrect side of the road, his judgement was probably affected by alcohol."

Pc Mould added chevron warning signs on the bend were badly positioned and he had reported the problem to the Highways Agency, but so far had received no reply.

The court also heard Mr Garfield, an unemployed engineer from Lansdown Green, Kidderminster, had previously suffered from depression although his mental state at the time of his death was described as happy.

Coroner's officer Andrew Heathcote said: "There were no major problems with his physical health however recently his alcohol intake was becoming excessive."

Pc Matt Lovatt, from Staffordshire police, said: "He had owned the bike for about two years and his family described him as a sensible rider, generally he seems to have been quite a safe rider."

However Pc Lovatt also revealed Mr Garfield had been banned from the roads in 2004 for a drink/driving offence.

South Staffordshire coroner Andrew Haigh said: "Mr Garfield failed to negotiate the bend and things were going wrong a bit of a distance prior to the bend, he was on the wrong side of the road."

Mr Haigh concluded no other vehicles were involved in the incident, which he described as a "genuine tragic accident".

As he recorded a verdict of accidental death, Mr Haigh said he would also write to the Highways Agency to highlight the position of the chevron signs plus problems with plant growth obscuring them from drivers' view.

Speaking after the case, Mr Garfield's estranged wife Emma Garfield, said: "I have got the answers I wanted, it is a little bit of closure.

"We were moving towards a reconciliation, two families have been devastated but now we have got to move on."

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