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Inquest into death of Dover man Phil Edbrooke-Childs who died in tanker crash in Hermitage Lane, Maidstone

By Claire McWethy

A popular managing director was killed after his car inexplicably drifted into the path of an oncoming tanker, an inquest has heard.

Phil Edbrooke-Childs, from Dover, was driving a red Nissan Qashqai when his car collided head-on with a silver petrol tanker in Hermitage Lane, Maidstone, on January 4.

His car crossed into the opposite lane by the junction with Whitepost Wood Lane, just as he was coming around a gentle bend in the road.

Phil Edbrooke-Childs was killed in a car crash

Phil Edbrooke-Childs was killed in a car crash

Emergency services, including an air ambulance and specialist ambulance response team, were called but the 36-year-old tragically died at the scene. 

At an inquest at Archbishop's Palace in Maidstone today, assistant coroner Allison Summers, considered several explanations for the cause of the accident, including a distraction or medical episode such as a blackout.

However, no evidence was found that he had been using his phone or had any health problems.

The possibility of the manoeuvre being a deliberate act could not be ruled out, but was said to be unlikely.

The inquest heard Mr Edbrooke-Childs had been prescribed anti-depressants following the death of his father in 2014.

PC Andrew Waghorn, from Kent Police, said no problems were found with either vehicle, and they were obeying the 40mph speed limit.

He said the driver of the tanker would have had just two seconds to react and could not have avoided Mr Edbrooke-Childs' car as it drifted into his path, in a "controlled but unexplained manoeuvre". 

The road was closed while officers investigated

The road was closed while officers investigated

Mrs Summers concluded that the death was accidental.

She said: "I'm unable to reach any conclusion as to what caused Mr Edbrooke-Childs to cross over the central line.

"I'm sure it must be extremely frustrating for the family. The question you most want to know the answer to is why, and that is the one question I'm unable to answer." 

After his death tributes poured in to Mr Edbrooke-Childs, described as a man who lived life to the full.

His family issued a statement saying: "His constant smile, infectious happiness, laughter and outgoing personality will live forever in our hearts and minds.

"He would do anything for anyone and will be greatly missed by all who were fortunate enough to have been part of his life."

Mr Edbrooke-Childs was managing director of Kent and Medway Health Informatics Service, a technology provider for the NHS, since 2013.

His most recent success had been the development of a pioneering new app to help parents with newborn babies, called Born to Move.

Among his hobbies were photography, cooking and graphic design.

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