Cornwall mum killed in front of children while bump starting car

Kerry Ann was described by a neighbour as a "lovely woman" Credit: BPM Media

A much-loved mum was killed in a 'devastating' accident while bump starting her car with children sat in the back seats, an inquest has heard.

Kerry Ann Bowers, 29, died earlier this year after an attempt to start her faulty people carrier went wrong on the Pengegon Estate in Camborne.

Tributes paid to Kerry shortly after her death spoke of her kindness and how she always had a smile on her face.

An inquest into the 29-year-old's death took place yesterday (December 22) to determine exactly what happened.

On June 10 this year, Kerry and her sister Georgia Bowers were struggling to get Kerry’s black Ford Galaxy started. The ignition key appeared to not work due to an “intermittent wiring issue”, vehicle examiner Mark Richards told the inquest.

At just after 2pm, the pair attempted a bump start - pushing the car to get the engine turning.

Georgia tried to push the car, but its front wheels were just behind a speed bump on the road and could not be pushed over while Kerry was in the front seat.

Kerry therefore also got out to push while keeping one hand on the steering wheel, stood between the open car door and the driver’s seat. The large people carrier went over the speed bump but quickly gained momentum down the road.

Georgia told the inquest the car then picked up speed and her sister began to be dragged along by the car.

“She was screaming at me to jump over her and get into the seat,” Ms Bowers said.

But by the time she had managed to get into the car, the vehicle had slammed into a thick hedge around 15 metres away from its start point and crushed Kerry in between the door and the car frame.

'She kept saying she couldn't breathe'

Ms Bowers told Coroner Andrew Cox: “She kept saying she couldn’t breathe, I said I couldn’t do anything and was talking to her before I got the kids out of the car.

“I waved down a car and asked the driver if he could help.”

The driver, who lived nearby and recognised Kerry, helped call an ambulance and the fire service. He also helped keep the car stationary by applying the handbrake and putting a brick under the passenger side front wheel.

A few minutes afterwards, ambulance and fire crews arrived and attempted to save Kerry but she died as a result of her injuries.

PC Karen Roberts from Devon and Cornwall Police, who had known Kerry from previously living next door to her mother, attended the scene at 2.08pm with PC Sarah Gough.

Fire crews attended the incident

She said: “When we got there the Ford Galaxy was stationary with its end in hedgerow on the offside of the hill.

“Already in attendance was ambulance and fire crews. Sadly they told me Kerry had died, it wasn’t an easy incident to attend - Kerry’s mum is an old neighbour and I’d seen Kerry grow up over the years.

“When we got there everything was in hand, we didn’t do anything apart from managing the scene. It was a single-vehicle road traffic collision.”

A post-mortem confirmed Kerry died from being unable to breathe from the incident.

And an evaluation of the car said there were no major faults with the engine or battery - but some intermittent wiring issues which meant the ignition worked sometimes, and did not other times.

'Such a lovely woman'

Neighbour Julie Mumberson saw Kerry on the morning of her death. She said: “I live opposite her and see her most days my heart goes out to her close family and friends she was such a lovely woman.”

Coroner Cox concluded Kerry’s death should not be recorded as a ‘road traffic collision’, but instead as an accidental death.

He said the hedgerow forced the driver's door shut and Kerry was caught in the gap and the door and asphyxiated.

“I struggle to recognise that something so innocuous can have such a devastating outcome", he said.

“I’ve done exactly this myself on many occasions, it’s desperately sad."

He finished by offering his condolences to Kerry’s partner and sister, who were in attendance at the inquest.