Inquest: Woman and dog killed in collision with bike

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A motorcyclist who died in a crash was probably speeding when he hit and killed a former Leighton woman and her dog crossing the road, an inquest heard.

James Fryman, 23, and 63-year-old grandmother and ex-Brookland School teaching assistant Jan Short, both from Weymouth, both died in the collision on the A354 Weymouth Way on Saturday, July 26 this year.

Mrs Short’s dog Toby also died in the collision, which was witnessed by Mrs Short’s husband Andrew. An inquest into their deaths was held on Thursday in Bournemouth, in which a number of statements were given by eye-witnesses to the incident and also evidence by PC Kelvin Edge from Dorset Police.

Mr Fryman, was travelling from Weymouth towards Chafey’s roundabout on Weymouth Way when he was in a collision with Mrs Short and her pet just after 5pm.

Andrew Short, Mrs Short’s husband, told the inquest the couple were walking their pet dog, a seven-month-old dachshund called Toby, via an alleyway connecting Goldcroft Avenue to Weymouth Way.

He said Mrs Short and Toby were slightly ahead of him as they approached the road, and he was standing near the alleyway when the collision took place.

He told Coroner for Dorset, Sheriff Payne, from his position at the top of the slope, he could see the motorbike coming but Mrs Short couldn’t because she was standing on the side of the road, and the grass and the shrubbery on the road side would have been too high for her to have a clear view of the road.

Mr Short said: “Jan and the dog were ahead of me when she was hit by a fast motorcycle. I went over to Jan when she was lying in the road. She didn’t speak. I knew she was very poorly.”

Another eight eye-witnesses also gave evidence to the inquest, including six motorists who had been overtaken by Mr Fryman just after the Swannery Bridge junction just seconds before the fatal crash.

Susan Burrows said she thought Mr Fryman was “travelling at about 80mph” and performed a number of overtaking manoeuvres before he accelerated out of sight towards Chafey’s roundabout.

Howard Williams also said he felt Mr Fryman was travelling “20 to 30mph” quicker than the speed limit of 50mph.

PC Kelvin Edge told the inquest Mrs Short was crossing the road with her pet dog when she was struck by Mr Fryman’s motorbike.

PC Edge said: “The point of impact was 0.3 metres away from the central reservation.

“In practical terms, this indicates she almost cleared the lane and reached the central area when she was hit. Mr Fryman braked very hard which resulted in his wheels locking and he strayed to the off-side of the carriageway.”

PC Edge also said he believe the shrubbery at the side of the road would not have been too high to affect Mrs Short’s vision.

PC Edge said in police investigations, calculations by experts estimated Mr Fryman was travelling between 48mph and 58mph on the road, which has a speed limit of 50mph, at the point of impact although it was likely to “be at the higher end of that scale.”

PC Edge added: “It’s safe to assume the witnesses who were overtaken are all talking about the same motorcycle, and the evidence clearly indicates that the motorcycle was in travelling in excess of 50mph prior to the incident, but they can’t say whether he maintained this speed.”

The coroner recorded a verdict that both died as a consequence of a road traffic collision.

In a statement afterwards, Mrs Short’s family said: “We are glad that the inquest is now behind us, we are satisfied that it has shown what we always knew to be true – that mum was innocently and safely crossing the road.

“We feel that the evidence within today’s inquest speaks for itself regarding the speed of the motorcycle.

“But we now have to move on from this and be able to grieve as a family for the senseless loss of our mum Jan – a truly amazing wife, mother, and nanna, who we will miss always.”

Mrs Short grew up in Oakley Green and also lived in Vandyke Road and Brooklands Drive before retiring to Devon in August 2013, fulfilling a lifetime wish to retire by the sea.