“Why did you leave my son?” Mum asks military doctor at inquest

Michael Clay leaving county court, King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Michael Clay leaving county court, King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

A US military doctor was quizzed at an inquest by a grieving mother, whose son had died in a road crash.

Michael Clay, 55, of Ten Mile Bank, near Littleport, was giving evidence at a hearing held at King’s Lynn County Court into the death of 44-year-old Dean Humberstone, from South Road, Lakenheath.

Mr Humberstone died on January 29 this year after the van he was driving hit a double mattress which was lying on the Southery to Feltwell road after falling off Mr Clay’s pick-up truck at around 6.45am.

The van spun off the road and crashed into a tree which resulted in Mr Humberstone dying at the scene.

In September Mr Clay was found guilty for failing to report the accident which happened and admitted to having an insecure load on his Toyota pick-up.

He was given a 10 week prison sentence suspended for one year and a 12 month driving ban.

When Mr Humberstone’s mother Kathy tearfully asked Mr Clay why had he left her son at the scene, he replied: “My experience told me that they (emergency services) did not need me on the side of the road, they had the tools.”

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As he stood in the dock he looked to the floor and added: “It is something I will never forget.”

The court heard Mr Clay did not realise his mattress had not fallen off onto the road until another motorist saw it and flashed his lights at him.

He turned around and headed back but and quickly realised that his mattress had caused an accident behind him.

“I grabbed the windshield to gain access into the van,” he said. “He was breathing and I took his pulse but he was unreponsive. At that point I realised I left my truck and I was concerned I was going to cause another accident so I went to reposition it.” In her conclusion, senior coroner Jacqueline Lake said that there were other factors involved with Mr Humberstone’s death.

She said cannabis was found in Mr Humberstone’s body which could have affected his driving and he had his sidelights on, despite it being dark at the time of the accident.

Mrs Lake said: “This inquest highlights the importance that all loads are held securely on vehicles.”