Mystery surrounds death of biker dad

James Boyd.
James Boyd.

A DEVASTATED family may never know the tragic circumstances behind the death of a loving 35-year-old dad in a road smash.

Keen motorcyclist James John Boyd, who clocked up thousands of miles on his bike, died after being involved in a head-on collision with a car being driven by an off-duty police officer.

Mr Boyd, who was known as Jim, died of multiple injuries after the Yamaha bike he was riding crossed onto the wrong side of the road and was in a collision with an oncoming Ford Focus.

The dad-of-two, who lived with his children and wife, Michelle, in Leighton Terrace, Hartlepool, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash on the B1280 road between Hartlepool and Station Town in September last year.

More than a dozen devastated family and friends attended an inquest into his death which heard how Mr Boyd was on his way to a friend’s house after a day at work.

Witnesses who passed him just moments before his tragic death said he was driving sensibly and within the speed limits.

But extensive tests, carried out after the accident, show that Mr Boyd was on the wrong side of the road when he collided with the Ford Focus, driven by off-duty Durham Police officer Helen Naylor.

Coroner Andrew Tweddle, told Mr Boyd’s devastated family it was not clear why he was on the wrong side of the road.

Tests carried out by Durham Police found no defects in the road or on either vehicle and the weather was said to be good and the visibility was fine.

Yet a post-mortem examination on Mr Boyd’s body did show traces of cannabis in his system, the inquest at held at Chester-le-Street Magistrates’ Court heard.

Mr Tweddle said results showed Mr Boyd to be an occasional cannabis user but said it was impossible to say whether he was riding under the influence of drugs.

Inspector Mark Hall, of Durham Police, said Ms Naylor was driving towards the A19 and was doing no more than 60mph when the bike approached on the wrong side of the road.

He said Ms Naylor was interviewed as any other person would have been.

Police re-traced Mr Boyd’s journey and took the corner on a motorcycle at speeds of 40mph-80mph and found that riders should not have any problems.

Mr Tweddle concluded: “If this could have been avoided it would have been.

“So often when I find out about deaths involving motorcyclists you get a picture of people haring around at ridiculously high speeds. That is not the case here.

“Physical tests confirm that the bike was on the wrong side of the road, that is evidence that we just have to accept.

“We have a situation where I find it extremely difficult to understand why it took place, but never the less, the collision did take place.

“I know what happened, I just don’t know why.”

Mr Tweddle recorded a verdict that Mr Boyd’s death was an accident.

l AN inquest is expected to open this week following the death of a 71-year-old motorcyclist in a collision on the A19 at Elwick on Thursday night.

Police have not revealed the name of the man from the Sunderland area who died following a collision involving a Suzuki motorbike and a non-UK registered Peugeot 807.