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Lowestoft grandfather’s death at Beccles kart track an accident, jury inquest concludes

PUBLISHED: 16:22 02 March 2018

Ellough Park Raceway near Beccles. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

Ellough Park Raceway near Beccles. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

A jury at the inquest of a grandfather who died while taking part in a go-kart race has concluded that his death was an accident.

Allan Fairweather, 64, of Oulton Broad, Lowestoft, died on September 25, 2016 at the Ellough Park Raceway, near Beccles, while the family were celebrating his brother Andrew’s 60th birthday.

Mr Fairweather was thrown from his kart when he was rear-ended by his daughter-in-law Peggy Fairweather, while his vehicle was “slow moving or stationary” on the finish line.

The inquest, held at Beacon House in Ipswich this week concluded on Friday, with the 10-member jury returning a verdict of accidental death.

It said: “Although Ellough Park provided clear safety instructions, it would not have foreseen the circumstances in which a stationary or slow moving kart would result in accidental death.”

Suffolk assistant coroner Dr Dan Sharpstone said: “It’s apparent that safety is of paramount importance to Ellough Park Raceway and I know they have now put in place further safety improvements, including signs and tick boxes – you should be commended for that.”

Dr Sharpstone made one recommendation for the National Karting Association that it could look again at measures for when a stationary car is on the track, but said it was a recommendation very much for the association to decide.

Addressing the family he said: “One can only guess at what agony it is to relive this incident.

“The inquest cannot put things back together as one might hope – it cannot go back in time – but if it’s of any help I hope the inquest has examined all the facts.”

He added: “There is no blame – that is the clear assessment of the jury, and they have defined really in no uncertain terms what an accident is, and that it is by its nature unpredictable, not foreseeable, and despite Ellough Park issuing clear safety instructions, no-one could have foreseen what would have happened to Mr Fairweather.”

The inquest heard evidence from track marshals, the local authority investigating the matter and the family members throughout the week.

Son Jason Fairweather, who had been on track at the time of his father’s death, said his father was “the nicest man” and added: “We weren’t looking for any specific outcome, we just needed closure.

“It’s not just me, it’s every member of my family.”

Statement on behalf of Ellough Park Raceway

Following the inquest into Allan Fairweather’s death, a spokesman from Ellough Park Raceway said: “Ellough Park Raceway is a longstanding karting business, based in Beccles, Suffolk.

“Throughout our history, the health and safety of our customers, spectators and employees has been an important priority.

“At the inquest into the death of Mr Fairweather, the jury concluded that sufficient and clear instructions were made to race participants and that the accident was not foreseeable.

“The assistant coroner also said in his concluding statement that he was satisfied that health and safety was and continues to be of paramount importance to Ellough Park Raceway.

“We wish to extend our condolences to Mr Fairweather’s family.”

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