Overtaking tragedy

A BIKER, who was killed as he tried to overtake two vehicles, died just six months after his friend and work colleague was also killed in a biking accident. Motorcyclist Russell Pannell, 29, a mechanic from St Felix Road, Ramsey Forty Foot, had been tryin

A BIKER, who was killed as he tried to overtake two vehicles, died just six months after his friend and work colleague was also killed in a biking accident.

Motorcyclist Russell Pannell, 29, a mechanic from St Felix Road, Ramsey Forty Foot, had been trying to overtake a car and a lorry on the B1050 in Somersham, an inquest heard last week.

As he did so, the car, a Vauxhall Corsa, pulled out and also attempted to overtake the lorry.

The manoeuvre meant the motorbike was "gradually forced across the road", the coroner was told.

The Corsa wing mirror then clipped Mr Pannell's elbow and he lost control of the bike. He veered across the road on to the verge but was then flung back under the wheels of the lorry he had been trying to pass. He was killed instantly.

Mr Pannell died on March 16 - six months after fellow biker Malcolm Anderson, 39, from Ramsey, had been killed, also in Somersham.

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Both men had been on their way to work at Cambridge Motorcycles, in Cambridge.

Coroner Dr Colin Lattimore, sitting in Huntingdon, heard that all three vehicles had been travelling at less than 40mph.

The driver of the car, student Matthew Grainger, 17, from Chatteris, was travelling to college in Cambridge. He told the hearing in a statement that he did not see the motorbike. The coroner was told that Mr Grainger has been charged with driving without due care and attention.

Pc Chris Breeze, who investigated the collision, said: "The bike and rider were there to be seen but he failed to do so."

Mr Pannell and Mr Anderson worked together as mechanics and Mr Pannell's girlfriend, Billie Barber, was a former girlfriend of Mr Anderson's.

Ms Barber told The Hunts Post at the time of the second accident: "The three of us were such good friends. Russ had still not recovered from the death of Malcolm."

Dr Lattimore recorded a verdict of accidental death, saying: "The car driver failed to notice the bike which was trying to overtake him. There was a slight collision but it was enough to cause the motorcyclist to lose control of his machine.

"He was gradually forced across the road by the vehicle coming out and, as a result, into the path of the lorry. This is an extreme tragedy.

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