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Kyle Coen death in Bapchild was tragic accident: Inquest

A 14-year-old boy was killed after being knocked down on the A2 London road outside the Bapchild Cricket Club - before the driver sped off
A 14-year-old boy was killed after being knocked down on the A2 London road outside the Bapchild Cricket Club - before the driver sped off

The scene where Kyle Coen was killed near Bapchild Cricket Club

by Hayley Robinson

hrobinson@thekmgroup.co.uk

A tragic accident. That’s how coroner Patricia Harding described the death of teenager Kyle Coen.

An inquest held at County Hall, Maidstone, heard how the 14-year-old was cycling with his friend Steven Parker along London Road towards Teynham around 9pm on July 30 last year.

As they neared the entrance to Bapchild Cricket Club, Kyle was hit by a grey Fiat Bravo driven by Robert Lawrence, who then drove off.

Kyle Coen, 14, from Teynham, was killed in a hit-and-run in Bapchild
Kyle Coen, 14, from Teynham, was killed in a hit-and-run in Bapchild

Steven, now 15, flagged down motorists and dialled 999 as his stricken friend lay critically injured in the road.

Medics soon arrived and fought to save the Sittingbourne Community College pupil but he died at the scene from multiple injuries.

Lawrence contacted police the same night, claiming his car had been stolen.

But when officers arrived at his home in Barrow Green, Teynham, he was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving. It was then he admitted he’d been behind the wheel.

Lawrence maintained he was alone in the car but when CCTV – taken in East Street, Sittingbourne, before the accident – showed there was a passenger, he admitted it was his sister Jessica.

As well as being banned from driving for a year he was sentenced to six-months behind bars when he appeared before Maidstone Crown Court in February. He was recently released on licence.

Describing the moments before the accident he explained how he moved into the Sittingbourne-bound carriageway in a bid to overtake Kyle.

"it all happened so quickly. i thought i was going to miss him" – driver robert lawrence

But after looking over his shoulder and seeing the Fiat, the teen also started to move towards the centre of the road.

Lawrence said he accelerated in bid to get around him but ended up making contact with the rear of the bike.

He said: “It all happened so quickly. I thought I was going to miss him.”

When asked by Mrs Harding why he didn’t stop, he replied: “It was just sheer panic I think.”

PC Mark Chapelhow, who attended the scene, explained how it was nearly dark when the accident happened.

There was no street lighting, no lights on the bike and Kyle’s clothing wouldn’t have stood out against the dark background.

Summing up her findings, Mrs Harding said it was clear both Kyle and Lawrence had seen each other and had tried to avoid a crash.

Recording an accidental death verdict, she said: “The tragedy is they took the same evasive action. [The collision] was inevitable.”

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