There was debris everywhere, then I saw Eddie lying on the ground... witness tells of fatal crash horror
A man has described the moment he discovered his friend's lifeless body on the footpath seconds after his motorcycle span out of control.
An inquest into the death of 28-year-old Edward Hall heard how he was killed when he was thrown from his motorbike after striking a kerb on the York Road in Belfast while on his way home from a house party last July.
The chef was more than two times the legal drink driving limit and had traces of cocaine and ecstasy in his system.
The Newtownabbey man sustained multiple injuries, including a severe brain injury and a broken neck. He also suffered a number of internal injuries, including a fractured pelvis.
Eddie, as he was known to friends, was travelling home on his motorbike after spending the night drinking and partying with his friend Ian Gillespie when the accident happened.
The court heard how Mr Hall approached a sweeping corner on the York Road but did not steer the motorcycle enough to avoid a central island at the junction with Fife Street.
He was thrown from the motorbike after it struck a kerb, his body hitting a metal pole used for hanging pots. The vehicle continued along the wrong side of the road before coming to a rest at a bus stop, some 20 metres from Mr Hall's body.
Mr Gillespie described how he arrived on the scene and watched in horror as the motorbike span out of control on the ground and how all the while he was unable to see his friend. "I parked my car and went to look for him," he said. "I saw parts of his bike and his helmet on the ground and was listening to see if I could hear him crying. Then I saw him lying on the pavement."
The inquest was told that in the hours leading up to the accident, the friends drank at Mr Gillespie's flat in north Belfast before he drove to a house party in the White City area, where they stayed until 4am.
The pair, along with a friend, left in Mr Gillespie's car and went back to his flat, where Mr Hall collected his belongings and headed off home on his motorcycle because he had to work later that morning.
Mr Gillespie explained how he was going back to the house party and was travelling in the same direction as Mr Hall when he came across the crash scene.
"When I got to the junction I saw a motorbike going across the road and then it suddenly stopped," he said.
"There was no one on it. I guessed it was his bike. I got out and there was debris everywhere from the bike. I saw a body and I found Eddie lying on the ground with soil on his back. I couldn't find a pulse and he was not breathing."
Constable Mark Quigley, from the PSNI's collision investigations unit, said he arrested Mr Gillespie at the scene for a number of motoring offences, including causing death by dangerous driving, having no insurance and possession of a class A drug.
However, the constable stated he was later satisfied that no other car was involved in the crash.
The deceased's mother, Carol Hall, wept as she listened to some of the evidence. At one stage, she accused Mr Gillespie of reversing his car away from the scene to try and hide the vehicle as "he didn't want to be caught drink driving". However, Mr Gillespie denied this.
Coroner Suzanne Anderson conveyed her deepest sympathies to Mr Hall's family.