Boy died after new bike veered into van on hill in Oxfordshire

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image copyrightFamily photo
image captionCorey Caton had been out riding with his father when the crash happened

A 12-year-old boy died after veering into the path of a van on his new bike, an inquest has found.

Corey Caton, from Reading, was seriously injured after riding down a hill on the B471 in Oxfordshire on 7 November last year.

He died in hospital two days later due to a traumatic brain injury, Oxford Coroner's Court heard.

Coroner Darren Salter concluded Corey's death was a "tragic road traffic collision".

The court heard Corey had been riding with his father on a bike he had just been gifted, when they descended Whitchurch Hill in Whitchurch-on-Thames, towards Pangbourne, Berkshire.

Corey's father Dan Caton, who was riding ahead of his son at the time, said he looked "really confident" on the bike and added he had warned him about the hill.

In a statement read out in court, van driver Kamil Kolodziejczyk said he started braking after he saw a cyclist "going very fast" from the opposite direction, before Corey veered into the side of his van at 12:40 GMT.

"The whole moment happened quickly," he added.

'Sharp bend'

The court heard Mr Kolodziejczyk had been using a phone, via a Bluetooth headset, at the time of impact, but a collision investigation report found the call had no relevance to the crash.

After riding back up the hill when his son did not come down, Mr Caton said his "heart sunk" on discovering Corey lying in the road unconscious.

Collision investigator Luke Webb said the evidence suggested the speed of Corey's bike was the "most likely root cause" of him losing control on the "fairly sharp" nearside bend.

Mr Salter said the case "fell a long way short" of a conclusion of gross negligence or manslaughter in relation to Mr Caton's supervision of his son, as Corey's mother's solicitor had suggested in his submission.

Speaking outside court, Corey's mother Taira Caton said her son's death "could have been avoided".

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