Grandmother Drowned In A Water-filled Ditch

A GRANDMOTHER drowned when her car crashed into a water-filled ditch in deep fog. Margaret Thorne, aged 59, of High Street, Aldreth, had dropped her partner Terry off at work in Haddenham at 6am on the morning of February 12 and was on her way to her daug

A GRANDMOTHER drowned when her car crashed into a water-filled ditch in deep fog. Margaret Thorne, aged 59, of High Street, Aldreth, had dropped her partner Terry off at work in Haddenham at 6am on the morning of February 12 and was on her way to her daughter's house. She decided to take a short cut across the Fen to Ely, along Pools Road; visibility was down to 20 or 30 metres. An inquest at Ely Magistrates Court on June 25 heard that Mrs Thorne, who was driving a silver Vauxhall Astra, lost control of the vehicle on a sharp left hand bend and it crashed into a bank. The car landed on its roof in the ditch and Mrs Thorne, who was wearing a seatbelt, was left suspended in the shallow water and silt which was about half-a-metre deep.

Collision investigator, David Paul of Cambridgeshire police told the inquest he could not say for sure whether Mrs Thorne had blacked out before she drowned, but he confirmed that the position of the car had acted like a dam, causing the water level to rise steeply.

The inquest was told there were no witnesses to the accident and no other cars were involved.

Martin Langleyl, from Witchford, described how he and his partner drove past the scene at around 7am and noticed headlights in a ditch, but he couldn't see Mrs Thorne. Another motorist shone his torch past the headlights, only to see that there was someone in the car. The emergency services were called and Mrs Thorne was confirmed dead.


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Coroner William Morris recorded a verdict of accidental death in what he described as an "extremely sad matter".

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