Oxford

Didcot crash pair 'took drink and drugs'

Rhys Roberts
Image caption Rhys Roberts was described by a friend as a "really brilliant guy"

Two men who died when their car hit a garden wall and caught fire had been drinking and taking drugs before the crash, an inquest has heard.

Rhys Roberts, 21, and Jack Varney, 19, were in a Peugeot 306 that crashed on the A4130 at Hadden Hill, North Moreton, near Didcot, on 29 May.

Mr Roberts, who was at the wheel, had yet to pass his driving test.

Coroner Darren Salter, at Oxford Coroners Court, recorded a verdict of accidental death on both men.

The inquest heard the pair had been drinking with friends before Mr Roberts, a refuse collector from Didcot, borrowed his cousin's car to drive Mr Varney and another man home in the early hours of the morning.

'Devastated by crash'

After dropping off his first passenger, Mr Roberts lost control on a bend, resulting in the car catching fire when it struck the wall.

The inquest was told Mr Roberts had 132mg per 100ml of alcohol in his blood. The legal limit is 80mg. Mr Varney had a blood-alcohol reading of 75mg per 100ml. Both men had taken cocaine.

A post-mortem examination showed Mr Roberts had died instantly as a result of severe head and neck injures. Mr Varney, a father-of-one who had been hoping to join the Army, died after suffering multiple injuries and smoke inhalation.

After the hearing, Mr Roberts' mother issued a statement saying the family had been "devastated" by the crash, and added: "Words cannot explain how much they love and miss him."

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