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Coroner warns over drink-driving after four deaths in 'calamitous' Horsforth car crash

A coroner has warned of the dangers of drink-driving after a "calamitous tragedy" in which four young men died in a car crash following a party.

Caelan Megson, 21, Brandon Frew, 19, Declan Grove, 19, and Matt Walshaw, 18, died when the Seat Leon they were travelling in was in collision with a Seat Alhambra in the early hours of June 30 last year.

An inquest at Wakefield Coroners' Court heard that all four had been drinking before the collision, with one witness describing how Mr Megson, who was driving the Seat Leon, had been drunkenly dancing around with his T-shirt off hours beforehand.

The court heard that a toxicology report found he was around two and a half times the drink-drive limit when the crash happened, and had cocaine in his system.

Two girls, aged 16 and 17 at the time, were passengers in the car and were left with serious injuries after the incident on the A6120 Leeds Outer Ring Road, near the junction with Bank Gardens in Horsforth.

Declan Grove (left) and Matt Walshaw (right) Credit: West Yorkshire Police
Caelan Megson (left) and Brandon Frew (right) Credit: West Yorkshire Police

The six-strong group had been heading to a McDonald's and aiming to go on to Mr Frew's house in Leeds when the accident happened.

A forensic collision investigator said it was estimated that the car had been travelling at around 82mph in a 40mph zone, with witnesses saying it drifted on to the wrong side of the road on a blind corner and hit the other vehicle.

Recording a conclusion that the four men, all from Horsforth, died in a road traffic collision, coroner Kevin McLoughlin said the young people "should not have been in a car with a driver who had drunk significant alcohol".

He added: "I would encourage every school to look at the reports of these sad events and discuss them with their students - not only for the driver who makes an unwise judgement to drive after a night out, but also his friends who don't question getting into the car.

"I would ask that every driving instructor in this area cuts out the media coverage in the papers reporting this calamitous tragedy and makes their students read it and discuss it with them, so that they understand the responsibility that comes with having a driving licence."

The coroner said young people "who perhaps don't have the foresight because they are enjoying life and having fun" need to be aware of the "maturity and responsibility" required to drive a car.

Tributes at the scene of the crash in Horsforth Credit: ITV Calendar

The Uber driver in the other vehicle, Abid Lodhi, who was alone in the Alhambra at the time, gave evidence in court through a translator, saying he was powerless to prevent the collision as he went round the blind corner.

Mr Lodhi, a father-of-three, was on crutches as he gave evidence and said he suffered a broken hand and knee in the collision.

The court heard a series of statements from the families of the four men, with Paula Knight, the mother of Mr Grove, saying: "My son was charismatic, extremely handsome, caring, loving and polite in character from early years right through.

"I can say with great pride that he was my son, and everyone who knew him loved him dearly."

Mr Megson's mother Joanne said of her son, Mr Grove and Mr Frew: "I would say that they were brothers and would have been friends for life.

"I can say that our whole family has been left with a massive hole in it."