Cyclist couple deaths 'accidental' inquest rules

A couple killed in Thailand while on a round-the-world cycling trip died accidentally, an inquest found.

Peter Root and Mary Thomson, both 34, left Guernsey in July 2011 and had visited 23 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

They died at Panom Sarakhram on 13 February 2013 after a crash involving a pickup truck.

The Thai driver was later charged with causing death by negligence.

Mr Root was born in Jersey and raised and educated in Guernsey, while Ms Thompson was originally from Bristol.

During their 19 months on the road they experienced extreme weather and came under gunfire.

Both were artists and had catalogued their journey on their blog.

Severe head injuries

The inquest in Guernsey Magistrates' Court had been adjourned since 27 February 2013, when their bodies were released for burial.

A post-mortem examination, carried out in Guernsey, found the pair had both suffered severe head injuries consistent with a road traffic accident.

According to police in Thailand, the pair were travelling on the hard shoulder of a main road east of Bangkok when a pickup truck veered from its lane.

The driver Vorawong Sangkawat appeared in Chacheungsao Provisional Court on 19 December 2013 and pleaded guilty to an offence of causing death, negligence and offences against the Land Traffic Act.

The single offence violated several laws and carried a sentence of up to 10 years in jail.

The court took his guilty plea, previous good character and remorse shown into account while sentencing him to two years imprisonment suspended for two years.

Sangkawat was also fined 10,000 Baht, placed under probation service supervision for one year and made to attend a seminar relating to the Land Traffic Law.

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