A university student from Battle died from head injuries after her car overturned in Northiam, an inquest heard yesterday (Thursday, January 19).
Grace Elizabeth McAdie, 19, was on her way home from her boyfriend’s house when the accident happened at around 10.37pm on August 2.
Her parents heard at the inquest in Eastbourne Town Hall that, due to loss of control of the car around a bend, the car overturned and collided with trees on a rural road outside Benedict Farm.
In a statement to the inquest, Grace’s boyfriend Jack Moss said she had come over for dinner with his family. At the end of the night, he walked her to her car.
He said, “I did not see her put her seatbelt on, but wasn’t paying attention.
“Within minutes of her leaving, I received a text message from her.
“I replied, but it felt odd that she didn’t reply.
“We had had a really nice evening.
“Around 3.30pm the next day I spoke with her dad.
“I couldn’t believe what he was telling me.
“I was absolutely shocked and devastated. I still can’t believe this is happening.
He added, “She took a number of unnecessary risks when driving.
“I had to tell her to wear her seatbelt on numerous occasions.
“A couple of times I felt I needed to say something – she once drove 60mph in a 30mph zone.
“She was glued to her phone most of the time. Sadly it wouldn’t be any different when she was driving.
“She had a phone holder in her car, I have seen her making hands-free calls.
“I feel guilty. I replied to her messages. I blame myself. I wish I could turn back time.
“I’m devastated not to be with her.”
Cause of the loss of control to the Ford KA she was driving was inconclusive, according to forensic investigator PC Paul Banks, but she had been travelling below the speed limit of 60mph and a toxicology report found no alcohol or drugs in her system.
PC Banks was unable to say definitively if Grace had been using her phone or wearing a seatbelt.
Coroner Alan Craze said, “I hope this has helped the parents find out what happened.
“It is not pointing the finger at anybody at all.
“I offer my personal condolences to the family.”
Her family said Grace was ‘bubbly, kind, caring and fun-loving, and lit up any room she walked into’.
Grace had just completed her first year at Bath Spa University, where she was studying psychology, and had enjoyed spending the summer with family and friends at home in Battle.
In a bid to avoid leaving university in any debt, she had worked at a pub in nearby Hooe.
She left behind her mother Susanne, father Robert, brother Henry, 16, and sister Phoebe, 11.
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