Kendal man and woman killed in crash on A65 near town, inquest hears

Inquests into the deaths of Victoria Handley and Jack Willan were formally opened and adjourned by assistant Cumbria coroner Craig Smith at HM Coroners’ court in Cockermouth Credit: Cumbria County Council

Inquests have been formally opened into the death of a Kendal woman and man who died in a crash near the town.

Moving tributes were issued by the mothers of Victoria Handley and Jack Willan, both aged 20, following a two-vehicle collision on the A65 close to Stainton, which was reported just after midnight on 8 September.

It involved a black Citroen Saxo and a white Vauxhall Antara.

Both Miss Handley, of Kirkbarrow, Kendal, and Mr Willan, of Rinkfield, were pronounced dead at the scene.

A 36-year-old woman driving the Antara was taken to hospital with what police said were “significant injuries”.

The road was closed for several hours while a forensic collision investigation took place.

In a tribute, Miss Handley, who worked as a receptionist, was described as “a wonderful, beautiful, talented daughter, who will be missed forever by her family and friends and those who knew and loved her.”

Her mother said: “She was a vibrant young woman who loved life and lived it to the full.”

Mr Willan, an engineer, was described as being “never without a smile on his face” and as “full of fun, wise beyond his years, so kind, generous and fiercely loyal”.

“A truly amazing friend to so many,” his mother said.

Inquests into the deaths of Miss Handley and Mr Willan were formally opened and adjourned on Thursday 29 September by assistant Cumbria coroner Craig Smith at HM coroner's court in Cockermouth.

They had been travelling along the A65 from Crooklands in the direction of Kendal town centre.

Miss Handley was driving the Saxo while Mr Willan was a front seat passenger.

Mr Smith outlined some brief circumstances which were said to have led to the collision, which happened outside Millers Beck guest house, Mill Bridge Lane — about four miles south of Kendal.

The pair were formally identified by their mothers at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary on 8 September.

Mr Smith, who opened the two inquests separately, said: “I now adjourn this matter to a provisional inquest hearing date of 9 March 2023, when both Mr Willan and Miss Handley’s inquests will be heard together.”

In a public appeal after the tragedy, a Cumbria police spokesman asked anyone with information about the incident to report online at, quoting incident number 2 of 8 July 2022; or by calling 101.