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New Romney car smash driver had seizure 'caused by tumour', inquest told

By Sam Lennon

The effects of a brain tumour most likely caused a car driver to crash with an 18-tonne lorry, an inquest heard.

Nickolas Carey had been driving normally for nearly five miles when his car suddenly steered into the path of an oncoming lorry in New Romney.

Christine Freedman, assistant coroner for Central and South East, said: "These events were due to some sort of seizure due to his brain tumour, that's why he went into the path of an oncoming vehicle. It is the most likely explanation."

Nickolas Carey was killed in a crash in New Romney
Nickolas Carey was killed in a crash in New Romney

Mrs Freedman said Mr Carey had not even been aware of the tumour and added: "It is an extremely sad case, but nothing could be done."

She recorded a conclusion of accidental death.

Mr Carey, 51, a quality controller from West Street, New Romney, died of multiple injuries after the crash, which happened at about 4.30pm on Wednesday, December 4, last year.

"It is an extremely sad case, but nothing could be done..." - assistant coroner Christine Freedman

His red Citroen Xsara Picasso had crashed with a blue Scania lorry.

It happened between the Sainsbury's roundabout and the Station Road junction as Mr Carey was heading towards the town centre, the inquest at Folkestone Magistrates' Court heard.

Pathologist Dr Kareem Aboualfa said Mr Carey had a 7cm benign brain tumour in his front temple region, which was compressing the brain.

He said it was very likely the tumour resulted in instances of reductions in concentration, consciousness and ability to respond. It affected the part of the brain that dealt with awareness and consciousness.

The inquest also heard six weeks before his death, Mr Carey suffered incidents of being dazed and unresponsive, which Dr Aboualfa believed was also associated with the tumour.

He added: "It was more than capable of causing seizures."

The A259 Dymchurch Road where the accident happened
The A259 Dymchurch Road where the accident happened

Police ruled out all other possible causes of the accident such as alcohol, driving conditions and vehicle defects. Even a nail in one of Mr Carey's tyres was not seen as a factor.

The car had been seen by a witness moving under control for miles before the crash.

The Scania itself was also found not to have defects and had been driven in a safe and controlled manner and PC Chapelhow said the driver had taken appropriate action to try to avoid the crash.

There was also no evidence of mobile phones being used during driving.

The accident happened in winter darkness but visibility was otherwise clear and the weather was dry. The road surface had no other hazards such as spilt oil.

Toxicology results showed that Mr Carey had taken no alcohol or drugs before the crash and he had been wearing his seat belt.

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