'It was such a split second' - 13-year-old boy killed in crash

13-year-old Charlie Seale died in April 2019 Credit: PlymouthLive/BPM

A popular 13-year-old boy died after being hit by a car in Plympton, an inquest heard.On the evening of April 3, 2019, Charlie Nathan Seale had finished school and went out on his self-propelled micro scooter with friends around the Plympton area.The Ridgeway School pupil left his group of friends near the Co-op store sometime after 8pm and headed home, with his route taking him to Sandy Road, near to Tregenna Close.He was then hit by a blue BMW 325, driven by Zac Taylor, at about 8.30pm. CPR was administered at the scene by a nurse before paramedics arrived less than 10 minutes later.

But Charlie sadly died of his injuries at Derriford Hospital at 9.35pm.The inquest, held virtually by Michael Bird, assistant coroner for Plymouth, Torbay and South Devon, heard there was "no evidence that Charlie was riding his scooter irresponsibly at the time of the collision, nor that the driver of the vehicle, Mr Taylor, wasdriving in any way improperly".

A memorial for Charlie at the 'Seal Skatepark' Credit: PlymouthLive/BPM

Dr Georgina Selby, a consultant paediatrician at Derriford Hospital, was on call on the evening of the collision when the trauma call was made.Tragically resuscitation efforts by the trauma team were unsuccessful and a formal cause of death was given as multiple injuries consistent with a road traffic collision.The inquest heard evidence from PC Martin who attended the scene and arrived at 8.32pm.Mr Taylor, 30, was given a caution at the scene and later arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving but it was later decided to take no action against him.

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At the scene, Mr Taylor told PC Martin: "I was travelling from the Deep Lane junction."I was about at the bus stop on my left and I saw a kid on my left, at my side window."It was such a split second, it was so fast."Mr Taylor said he "stopped slightly further down" the road and "ran back" to the scene while on the phone to the ambulance service.Giving evidence virtually, Mr Taylor said: "I couldn’t stop immediately, as it happened I swerved and came back into my lane."As I looked into my mirror there was a car behind me so I couldn’t stop immediately."It wasn’t there when I glanced just before [the collision]."The inquest also heard the car had no MOT and Mr Taylor had booked it in for the following morning after swapping his previous vehicle for the BMW "a few days" before the collision.Mr Taylor, who was a car salesman at a car dealership in Ivybridge and also bought and sold cars in his spare time, had a mechanic at his previous workplace check the BMW over.He was told it was "perfectly fine to drive" and was advised at some point to fix the "rear brake lines".Mr Taylor was covered on his private insurance, but was using trade plates on the vehicle at the time.Assistant coroner Mr Bird asked Mr Taylor how he was able to drive the vehicle if it had no MOT."If a car is booked in for its MOT you are able to drive it," he said.

"I wouldn’t have driven it if I didn’t think it was [safe] or was advised it wasn’t."When asked if he believed if there was any opportunity to avoid the collision, Mr Taylor said he did not believe there was.The inquest also heard a report from PC Chapman, a forensic vehicle examiner for Devon and Cornwall Police.He found the engine "had recently been changed" from its original 2.5 engine to a "six cylinder 2.8 engine", which Mr Taylor said he had no knowledge of.The inquest heard PC Chapman found the car had "corroded metal brake pipes" and a defective airbag system.PC Chapman explained these were all reasons to fail an MOT, which had previously expired on May 8, 2018."The vehicle was not of a serviceable condition and had not been reasonably maintained," he said.However, Mr Chapman added there were "no defects which could have caused or contributed to the road traffic collision".The inquest heard there was also a "number of items of debris from the BMW", but there were "no tyre marks" attributable to the BMW, which meant that the speed of the vehicle could not be determined.Mr Taylor told the inquest he was driving at 30mph.When asked by Mr Bird how he was sure, he said it is "an extra thing when you've got those [trade] plates in the window, you make sure you are bang on speed limits and don't exceed them".The inquest heard there was no evidence Mr Taylor's phone was in use at the time of the collision.The police investigation found no witnesses to the collision, but one man - Mr Javadi - witnessed the events before and after the incident.In a statement Mr Javadi said he had left his home near to Sandy Road to go to the local shop."I saw a young male with one foot on a small black scooter," he said."He had a long-sleeved black top on with a hood, which was up at the time."He was wearing black trousers and appeared to be around 11 years old."We both exchanged smiles with each other."

He said he "heard a very loud bang" which "sounded like a crash" and then called 999.

"The harsh reality though is that a collision occurred between a car on the road and a boy on a push scooter. "And as a result, a young life was lost.

Mr Bird

Summarising the inquest, Mr Bird said: "The collision was unwitnessed. All that we can really say, as a matter of fact is that Charlie did not see Mr Taylor's vehicle and then Mr Taylor did not see Charlie on his scooter."With the consequence that the collision occurred and Charlie suffered unsurvivable injuries in the collision."That Charlie should lose his life in this way at such a young age is nothing short of a tragedy and my heart goes out to Charlie's family, his friends and all those who have been touched by the loss of Charlie from their lives."We have not been able to establish with certainty exactly what happened."The harsh reality though is that a collision occurred between a car on the road and a boy on a push scooter."And as a result, a young life was lost."Mr Bird recorded the conclusion as an accident.He thanked Mr Taylor for "coming along and answering the questions that were put to you" and gave his "deepest sympathies" to the loved ones of Charlie.Flowers and tributes appeared at the scene days after the tragedy, but Charlie’s family also put into their own words just what he means to them and how much they love him.The entire statement from Charlie’s family said: “Charlie was a happy and energetic 13-year-old boy.“He was very popular within his community and at Plympton Academy where he was a pupil.“Charlie had a passion for his scooter and also enjoyed Boys Can Dance sessions at his school.“He loved to spend time with his family, especially going for walks with the whole family including Dot the dog.“Charlie used to play football for Manstow Football Club, in Ivybridge, where he was goalkeeper, having already collected many trophies.“Charlie had a passion for chocolate milkshakes and Oreo biscuits!! “His family will all miss him and will love and remember him forever.”Some money raised from donations to the family was spent on a new ramp at the city's Prime skatepark which Charlie loved and there is a memorial plaque in his honour.

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