Tragic crash caused by one biker over the limit and one speeding: Inquest into head on crash in Southend

Michael Denley

Michael Denley

First published in Echo News by

TWO men died in a head-on motorcycle collision because one was drunk and the other was speeding, an inquest has heard.

Anthony Pendrey, 55, died at the scene of the crash in Journeyman’s Way, Southend.

Michael Denley, 22, died two days later in Royal London Hospital.

James Faulkner, who was riding pillion with Mr Denley, survived after hospital treatment.

Chelmsford Coroners’ Court heard yesterday toxicology tests showed Mr Pendry, known as Tony, from Sutton Road, Southend, was almost three times over the legal drink-drive limit on his new Vespa scooter when the crash happened.

The inquest also heard Mr Denley, known as Mickey, from Coombs Road, Rochford, was driving his new Yamaha bike at up to 71mph on a 30mph road.

It was revealed at the inquest that the area of the Temple Farm industrial estate was popular with young drivers and motorcyclists, who met there most Thursdays.

Mr Faulkner said a group would meet there each week to play “manhunt” – a version of hide and seek.

He confirmed the game was being played on the night of the crash – on August 16, last year. He said: “It was my third time on the back of a bike and I was not confident.

“He said, ‘hold on as if you are trying to cut blood circulation’. He drove up to a car park and turned round.

“I said, ‘this is quick’. I don’t remember going fast, but could feel the power of the bike. I remember going past an HGV, then I woke up in hospital.”

Both he and Mr Denley were flung from the bike after colliding with Mr Pendry’s Vespa.

CCTV footage obtained by police showed Mr Denley was travelling at 68 to 71mph, while Mr Pendry was doing just 15 to 20mph.

David Webster, was also given a ride by Mr Denley before Mr Faulkner, and said he saw Mr Pendrey wobbling on the Vespa.

He said: “He was not moving fast and looked a bit odd and was wobbling.

“He almost came to a halt in the centre of the road. I got the impression he was trying to go right into Candle Makers, but there was no indicator.

“He could have been a bit shaken up by the bike coming the other way.”

Police investigator, PC Alan Barlow, told the inquest road conditions were good and there were no defects with either bike.

He said: “Toxicology tests showed Mr Pendrey was almost three times over the legal drinkdrive limit.

“It may have be e n why he was wobbling. Due to his intoxicated state he may not have been aware of his position in the road or the speed of the Yamaha.

“Any driver or rider intoxicated or not would not expect a driver to come at over twice the speed limit.

“It seems most likely the combination of intoxication and speed compromised the ability of both riders to avoid the collision.”

Both died of multiple injuries.

Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray recorded accidental verdicts for both victims.

Family pay tribute to ‘intelligent caring man’

ANTHONY Pendrey was “an intelligent, caring man” who liked a drink, but would never hurt a fly, according to relatives.

Speaking after the inquest, sister Deborah Riseley, niece Jo Riseley, and nephew Michael Riseley, said it was unlikely he had drunk to excess on the day of the accident.

Michael said: “He drank a lot, but in the evening, so it was probably left over from the night before. He had a curry in the Last Post in Southend that day so may have had a pint.

“He was probably wobbling because he was a novice rider and he had just got the bike.” 

Deborah said his provisional driving licence came through a day after he died. She said: “He used to fix computers. He was so caring and intelligent and was always reading books. He was a peaceful man who would never hurt a fly.”

A keen rugby player, he had played for Westcliff Rugby Club and loved the outdoors.

Jo said: “He was laid back and a bit of a loner by choice. He had no kids, but loved his family, was very opinionated and had an intelligent sense of humour.”

Kayleigh Denley, Michael Denley’s sister, said: “Mickey was a fun, loving, kind, caring 22-year-old man with his whole life ahead of him.

“It’s a shame he moved on before his time as he leaves a massive hole in all his friends’ and family’s lives.

“We will never forget the fun-loving times he gave us all.”


 

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