‘Fatal last steps’ led to flower parade tragedy

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Mystery still surrounds the death of a 22-year-old Whaplode Drove man who walked out in front a coach returning from last year’s final Spalding Flower Parade.

Daniel Frisby, of Broadgate, had everything to live for – the possibility of a new job, a new Cherokee Jeep which he had sat in only hours before and a holiday in Spain with friends.

But for reasons no-one can imagine he stood on the segregation island of a layby on the A16 at Cowbit and within seconds of being spotted by the driver stepped out and “walked quickly” into the path of the coach.

An inquest at the Red Lion Quarter in Spalding on Friday recorded a new verdict of death caused by road traffic collision.

Pathologist Dr Michael Biggs said Daniel’s death was instant from severe head injuries sustained in the collision. There were no other medical conditions that led to his death and tests found no traces of alcohol or drugs - only caffeine.

South Lincolnshire coroner Prof Robert Forrest said no-one would ever know why Daniel took those fatal steps and “walked quickly into the path of a coach”.

In spite of visiting his doctor because of mood swings, Mr Forrest said there was “absolutely no shadow of suspicion that Daniel deliberately killed himself”.

Mr Richard Frisby, Daniel’s father, described his son as being like his “best friend”. He said: “Daniel was just getting into fitness and was always running and body building. He was a construction worker and I had told him about the possibility of a job and asked for a CV.

“He was a good fisherman and we had been making arrangements to go fishing the next day.

“I’d been to fetch a Cherokee Jeep and looked around to see him sat in it and saying how nice it was. I told him when I was finished with it in a few months it was his and he seemed pleased. He also had plans to go on holiday with friends to Spain. There had been no indication that he was depressed or had planned to take his own life.”

Witnesses told the inquest how they thought it was unusual to see a pedestrian on the busy stretch of the A16.

Anna Fendyke was driving towards Spalding and has seen Daniel in his grey track suit stood by the side of the road. She said: “There was a bus coming from the opposite way and I saw someone in the layby run out in the road. I couldn’t believe what I had seen and stopped in the layby. Someone came out of the bus and knelt by the man and I dialled 999.

”It all happened so fast. There was no reason to cross the road because there were just fields opposite.”

The coach was carrying a marching band that has been taking part in the flower parade. A statement was read out from coach passenger Robert Alcorn, describing the moment of impact.

He said: “There was a bang and the coach swerved. It was only the skill of the driver that prevented the coach skidding off the road and risking injuring passengers.”

The driver of the Epsom coach driver Steven Ashton (62) said he had seen Daniel standing on the segregation island but had not been concerned because he had shown no signs that he intended walking out into the road.

Mr Ashton said: “He was looking at me then did something with his hands and suddenly ran towards me – it was as if he had said ‘Yes, I’m going to do it’. I felt the impact but did not time to take avoiding action – it was over in seconds. I stopped as soon as I could safely with passengers on board.”

Tachograph reports showed Mr Ashton had been travelling about 60mhp – exceeding the limit for a coach of 50mph – but he said the road was clear and he was in complete control of the vehicle.

Accident investigator PC Michelle Ford confirmed that even at 50mph Mr Ashton had no chance of stopping in time. She said: “All it would of meant is Mr Frisby would have been further in the road when he was hit.”