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Road rage led to nightclub boss's death

FRANK AFSHAR: witness believed he was travelling up to 80mph through roadworks. Picture: Mehdi Afshar
FRANK AFSHAR: witness believed he was travelling up to 80mph through roadworks. Picture: Mehdi Afshar

THE owner of a nightclub died when he was thrown from his car after apparently intimidating another driver in motorway roadworks, an inquest was told.

Frank Afshar, 46, who co-owned Fat Sam's in the Sittingbourne Hight Street with his brother Mehdi, suffered fatal head injuries after his car hit a temporary concrete crash barrier in the central reservation on the M2 at Gillingham.

Just before the accident, he had pulled alongside a car driven by Nicky Barlow and threatened to punch her and her passenger before throwing a battery through their car window.

The inquest, at Gillingham, heard the incident happened shortly after 10am on March 29 as Mr Afshar was travelling to Sittingbourne in a Citroen Xsara from his home in Barnhurst, south London.

Widening of the M2 was taking place at the time and Mr Afshar was in roadwords just before the Gillingham turn-off at juncion 4. Ahead of him, in the 50mph limit, was Miss Barlow in a Ford Fiesta who was on her way to Canterbury with her boyfriend.

She told the inquest: "He was right on my bumper and I could clerly see his face in the rear view mirror. I was in the outer, faster, of the two lanes and the road conditions were fine and dry. It was very busy so I could not move to the inner lane.

"After a few minutes, I was able to move to the slower lane and he drove past me, but then I suddenly realised he was behind me again. I became quite scared and he came up to the side of me. He threw a battery out of his car into mine and then started threatening to punch my car. He then accelerated and lost control in front of me.

"His car spun in front of mine and crashed into the central reservation. I was so scared that I drove straight to Canterbury police station because I thought he may have something else in the car if I had stopped."

Paul Moody, who witnessed the crash, was driving an AA recovery truck on the same coast-bound carriageway when he saw Mr Afshar's car drive past him at what he believed was up to 80mph through the roadworks.

Mr Moody said: "He seemed intent on catching up with the car and I saw the man's arm violently swing as he pulled up and slowed down next to her car."

A post mortem examination revealed Mr Afshar died from head injuries. He had not been wearing a seat belt. There was no contact between Mr Afshar's and Miss Barlow's car.

Coroner Roger Sykes said: "I can understand why Miss Barlow felt intimidated and I believe he intended to cut in front of her."

Verdict: accidental death.

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