Published: 17:15, 17 November 2020
| Updated: 17:59, 17 November 2020
Two friends were killed after the motorcycle they were riding collided with an oncoming car near Old Romney, were not wearing helmets or protective clothing, an inquest has heard.
Steven Taylor and Dean Bryan, both from London, were travelling down the A259 Brenzett Straight on a vintage BMW R1200 when the incident occurred.
The friends, aged 33 and 27, were not wearing crash helmets or protective clothing when they left a friend's house where they had been staying for a few days.
Toxicology reports on both victims showed that they had cocaine and Benzoylecgonine - a metabolite of cocaine - in their system, while Mr Stevens was also almost twice the legal driving limit for alcohol.
The coroner's court at the Archbishop's Palace in Maidstone heard that the pair took the bike, which belonged to a member of the family they were staying with, just before 10pm on August 11.
The court heard an account from the owner of the bike, who said that it was in the middle of being restored, and that Mr Taylor and Mr Bryan would have had to reconnect the fuel lines on the bike to get it working.
He also added that the bike, which was first registered in 1984, had little to no brake fluid and that while the front headlight did work, "you had to know how to turn it on to properly get it to function".
Witness accounts from other friends also told of how the pair, neither of whom had a motorcycle licence, set off on the bike without the owner's permission or telling anyone in the house, and without taking crash helmets or even putting on shirts.
One friend said: "They had been swimming in the pool while I was inside, and then I heard the noise of the engine leaving the garden.
"A short time later, we heard that there had been an accident down the road and my heart just sank.
"My dad went to have a look and called back to tell me that it was Steve and Dean, and I just couldn't believe it."
CCTV from a house on the 60mph road showed the motorcycle travelling with no headlight on, at an estimated speed of around 75-87.5mph.
Just a few seconds later, the motorcycle collided with a Renault Megane in the oncoming lane.
'We were driving and the road was completely clear, and then there was... something...'
Accounts from the driver of the car, who also sustained injuries in the crash, said that she and her friend had been travelling back from East Sussex, and had put her full beams on shortly after leaving the lit streets of Old Romney.
She said: "Were were driving and the road was completely clear, and then there was... something, two-thirds of the way into our lane, maybe 20 to 30 feet from us.
"I didn't see any headlights beforehand, and while I tried to brake and steer away, there was a massive bang and we spun."
The driver of the car received cracked ribs and bruising, while her passenger had fractured vertebrae that kept her in a back brace for 12-weeks.
Police, fire and ambulance services were called to the scene, but tragically Mr Taylor, who investigating officers believe was riding at the front of the bike, was declared dead at the scene.
His cause of death was listed as multiple injuries.
Mr Bryan, who it is believed was riding pillion passenger, was found by residents further down the road.
He was airlifted to a London hospital, but his condition deteriorated en route and he was declared dead in the early hours of August 12, with his cause of death being listed as multiple severe injuries.
Summing up, Assistant Coroner Katrina Hepburn described the deaths of the pair as "a truly tragic incident".
"We may never know why they took the bike when they did, but we do know the very sad effects in what happened afterwards.
"I would like to pass on my most sincere condolences to the family and friends of both men."