Mother and children die on A64 between York and Malton

An inquest in Northallerton today (March 8) heard that  Shirley Hunt, 44, and her daughter Ellie, nine, and son, Oscar, five, all died at the scene of the crash near Barton Hill, between York and Malton, on August 24, 2021.

The three, who were all passengers in a modified camper van being driven by Shirley’s husband, Craig, were all found to have died from multiple injuries.

A fourth passenger, six-year-old Brooklyn Hunt, was taken to hospital with a serious head injury and survived the crash.

The motorhome had collided with an HGV and its 45ft flatbed trailer which was laden with sheet steel and parked up in a layby near the Jinnah restaurant.

The court heard that the family, of Rotherham, had been on holiday and were returning home from Whitby at the time of the accident with Shirley and Ellie sitting in the rear of the vehicle and Craig and the two boys in the front.

In a statement read out from Mr Hunt he said as he was driving along the A64 and he could see the HGV parked up ahead.

“I suddenly heard an almighty boom, like an explosion,” he said.

“The front tyre blew and the steering wheel locked. I tried to turn, but it didn’t respond. I broke and at some point I lost consciousness. When I came around I thought there was water on me, but it was blood, my leg and foot were trapped.”

He said he tried to release the two boys who were sitting beside him in the front, but with out success and then he attempted to get to Mrs Hunt and Ellie in the back, but he couldn’t remove them.

In evidence North Yorkshire Police collision investigation officer TC Paddy Green said Mr Hunt’s vehicle was a converted BT commercial van first registered in 1993.

He said he found a defect in one of the tyres with a small hole in the tread which  would not have been visible to the naked eye.

“For the sake of Mr Hunt, there was nothing wrong with the tyre to look at,” he said.

“It wasn’t under inflated and a visual inspection wouldn’t have revealed what was happening within the structure of the tyre.”

The vehicle passed its MOT some seven months earlier.

The court heard that Mr Hunt and the two boys in the front were wearing seatbelts, and although Oscar didn’t have a booster seat, this would have made little difference to the outcome of the crash.

Mrs Hunt and Ellie were not wearing seatbelts as they were not fitted and TC Green said it was difficult to offer an opinion as to whether they would have survived if they were wearing them. He said they would only have been required to wear belts if they were fitted.

He went on to say the vehicle wasn’t designed to carry passengers travelling in the rear.

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In conclusion, assistant coroner Alison Norton said Mrs Hunt, Ellie and Oscar died in a road traffic collision.

She said: “I am however concerned that adults and children can travel in the rear of motorhomes without seatbelts.

“I will be writing a Prevention of Future Death Report to the Department of Transport to ask for consideration of action that may reduce this risk.”

A coroner has a legal power to write a Prevention of Future Death Report following an inquest if it appears there is a risk of other deaths occurring in similar circumstances, and the report is then sent to people or organisations who are in a position to take action to reduce the risk.

It was reported at the time of the crash how Sgt Paul Cording, of North Yorkshire Police, told in 2021 how Mr Hunt had suffered further heartache when they returned home and found the family had been burgled.

He started a collection online to help replace some of the items stolen, which raised more than £21,000.


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