Mother and children killed in motorhome tyre blow-out, inquest told

Coroner's Court: Evidence around seatbelts inconclusiveCoroner's Court: Evidence around seatbelts inconclusive
Coroner’s Court: Evidence around seatbelts inconclusive

Craig Hunt was driving his wife Shirley, 44, and children Ellie, nine, Brooklyn, six and Oscar, five, back to their home in Greasborough after a holiday in Whitby in August 2021 when the collision happened on the A64 between Malton and York.

The family were travelling in a 7.5 tonne DAF former commercial van that have been converted into a motorhome, with the boys seated in the front cab with their father and Mrs Hunt and Ellie in the living area.

Mr Hunt told the hearing at North Yorkshire coroner’s court that he had been travelling at around 50 mph during the ‘uneventful’journey when he suddenly heard a loud bang as the tyre blew.

He braked, but the steering became unresponsive and he was unable to avoid hitting a flatbed HGV parked in a lay-by.

Mrs Hunt, Ellie and Oscar were killed instantly, while Mr Hunt and Brooklyn survived.

The inquest was told the father and sons were all wearing seatbelts, though the boys did not have booster seats, but that their use would not have saved Oscar.

Mrs Hunt and Ellie were using seats with no restraints.

Mr Hunt said the family bought the motorhome in 2020 and he had checked the wheels that day, before leaving Whitby Abbey.

Blood samples showed Mr Hunt had not used alcohol or drugs and was not believed to have driven with any impairments, or been distracted.

Forensic collision investigator TC Paddy Green, from North Yorkshire Police, confirmed the vehicle was built in 1993 and the tyre which exploded dated from 2002.

The speed before the impact was recorded as 53 mph in a 60 mph zone.

TC Green said the tyre had damage which would not have been visible to the naked eye, causing it to deflate.

He added that it was “very difficult to say” whether Mrs Hunt and Ellie would have survived, had they been wearing seatbelts.

Assistant coroner Alison Norton recorded conclusions of death in a road traffic collision for all three victims, with “insufficient evidence” that seatbelts would have saved the lives of the two unrestrained passengers.