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Porsche SUV travelling ‘like a rocket’ before fatal crash, inquest told

Pregnant Anna Kirsopp-Lewis and her unborn son died when her car was hit on the A36 near Warminster, in Wiltshire, in December last year.

Anna Kirsopp-Lewis was driving a Peugeot 2008 car (Family handout/PA)
Anna Kirsopp-Lewis was driving a Peugeot 2008 car (Family handout/PA)

By Ben Mitchell, PA

A pregnant teacher and her unborn son were killed when her car was hit by a Porsche SUV travelling “like a rocket” as it overtook a series of vehicles at more than 112mph, an inquest has heard.

Anna Kirsopp-Lewis, 34, who had been travelling to a midwife appointment ahead of the birth of her second child, died at the scene of the crash on the A36 at Black Dog Hill, near Warminster, Wiltshire, on December 18 2018.

The driver of the 4.8 litre V8 Porsche Cayenne GTS, 62-year-old publican Ian Barton, died five days later in hospital.

Gasps were heard from the public gallery as the Salisbury inquest was shown dashcam footage of the black Porsche passing cars at speed.

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Anna Kirsopp-Lewis had been travelling to a midwife appointment at the time of the collision (Family handout/PA)

Witness David Woods, a teacher, said he was overtaken by a black 4×4 travelling at “tremendous speed”.

He said: “I can’t put an estimate on speed, it didn’t take any time to pass me, it felt like it went by like a rocket.”

Temporary Sergeant Joseph Sample, of Avon and Somerset Police, said Mr Barton’s Porsche had crossed over double-white lines as it had overtaken on the brow of a hill and in the bend of the road in rainy conditions.

He said it was a “prolonged poor piece of driving” before Mr Barton crashed into the rear of Mrs Kirsopp-Lewis’s Peugeot 2008 car which was travelling in the same direction.

The manner Mr Barton drove his Porsche Cayenne can only be described as aggressive, audacious and quite frankly abhorrent David Ridley, Wiltshire coroner

Dean Beaumont, a reconstruction specialist from the Transport Research Laboratory, said examination of the dashcam footage showed the Porsche was driving at between 112mph and 148mph before crashing into the Peugeot at more than 100mph.

Wiltshire coroner David Ridley said both drivers died of multiple injuries and recorded a verdict of unlawful killing for Mrs Kirsopp-Lewis. He ruled Mr Barton died as a result of a road traffic collision.

He said: “The manner Mr Barton drove his Porsche Cayenne can only be described as aggressive, audacious and quite frankly abhorrent.

“It is more likely than not he was in a hurry to get back to his pub but that is no excuse.

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Anna Kirsopp-Lewis (Family handout/PA)

“I am satisfied his driving can only be categorised as truly exceptionally bad to enable me to return a conclusion of unlawful killing.”

Mrs Kirsopp-Lewis’s widower, Christopher Lewis, fought back tears as he described his wife as a devoted teacher and mother to their young son, Henry.

He said she was excited at the imminent arrival of their second son who they planned to call Oscar.

He said: “Anna was my wife, my best friend and my future, she was kind and compassionate, funny and clever, the reason I was happy.”

He added: “She didn’t want Henry to be an only child and Oscar was that baby, he was planned for, loved, and much anticipated.”

Mr Barton’s widow, Adele, said that they had two sons and a daughter and had run the Wheatsheaf pub in Coombe Hay for 27 years.

She said: “He was a good, kind man, good-natured, who lit up a room and made people smile.”

She said he had been driving to pay a garage bill and to pick up some chicken feed and added: “He does drive fast but not erratically and never took risks. He loved his car.”

PA

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