A GRANDMOTHER riding as a pillion passenger was killed after her husband’s motorcycle attempted to overtake a car turning right into a layby, an inquest heard.

Sheila Neal, 53, had been enjoying a day out in Dorset with husband Steven on July 30 last year before the crash on the A30 Shaftesbury Road shortly after 6pm.

Mrs Neal, a mother-of-three who also had six grandchildren and lived in Somerset, died in hospital on August 17 of a “traumatic brain injury” as a result.

The Ford Focus involved in the collision was being driven by Graham Fordham, who was visiting the area from Worcestershire.

He told Bournemouth Coroner’s Court that he had not seen the Honda ST1100 prior to making the manoeuvre.

Mr Fordham, who was travelling in the car with his girlfriend and her young son, said he had slowed to a standstill, indicated and checked his blind spot before hearing a horn sounding “two or three seconds” before impact.

The court heard police testimony that the Focus’s indicators were found to be switched on when officers arrived at the scene, but could not say for certain whether they were turned on before or after the collision.

Mr Fordham said that he was travelling at a maximum of 35mph on the 60mph-limit road as he approached the layby, and described only seeing a four-by-four vehicle in his mirrors travelling “six or seven metres” behind his moments before the collision.

Witness David Peacock, who was in his car around 20 yards from the crash in the layby, said he had seen the Focus, but did not see the motorcycle or the other vehicle described by Mr Fordham.

Mr Peacock, whose view was obscured by a hedge, said he only heard the collision and did not see it.

Mr Neal, himself still recovering from injuries sustained in the collision, said he had almost no recollection of the incident.

Concluding that Mrs Neal died as a result of a road traffic collision and reminding the court it is not his job to attribute blame, Dorset coroner Sheriff Payne said he had heard “varying accounts” of the incident.

“The road is straight up to that point with a sightline of 115 yards. That sightline was available both to Mr Fordham driving the Focus and to Steven Neal riding the motorcycle,” he said.

“What concerns me is that it is quite clear that Mr Fordham was slowing down to make his turn.

“And Mr Neal, an experienced motorcyclist, possibly should have asked the question why that was happening.

“We don’t know whether the indicators were put on in the Focus.”

He said, however, that Mr Fordham had not previously given a detailed description of the car travelling behind him when first interviewed by police.

“[Mr Fordham] has now told us that at that stage it was six or seven metres behind him, it was probably a four by four, it was coloured probably brown, mauve or purple – a fairly prominent vehicle, larger than a saloon type vehicle.

“But Mr Peacock, sitting in his car, saw nothing of the sort and I suggest although he might have missed the motorcyclist he would not have missed a vehicle trailing so close behind the Focus that he saw slowing down to make the turn.

“The driver of this mysterious vehicle has never come forward.”