Mid Wales

Deer theory in A470 crash death of teacher Ben Muskett

Ben Muskett and partner Ambra Finotello
Image caption Ben Muskett, pictured with his partner Ambra Finotello, was from Bethesda and lived in Llanidloes

A teacher and rising musician killed in a high-speed car crash may have been trying to avoid a deer, an inquest has been told.

Ben Muskett, 25, of Llanidloes, Powys, was driving at an estimated 92mph (148 kmh) when his car left the road and hit a tree in January, the inquest heard.

The crash happened on the A470 at Coed y Brenin, near Dolgellau, Gwynedd.

Deputy coroner Nicola Jones recorded a verdict of accidental death. She said Mr Muskett would have died instantly.

Mr Muskett, who was head of music at Llanidloes High School, had been a piano tutor at the prestigious William Mathias Centre at Caernarfon.

Speaking after Mr Muskett's death in January Sioned Webb, artistic director at William Mathias Centre said Wales had lost "one of her finest budding musicians".

The inquest heard that he was on his way back to Llanidloes from his family's home town of Bethesda when the crash happened.

Because his car would have been rotating backwards after leaving the road the airbags would not have deployed, the inquest was told.

PC Gareth Rogers, who came across the crash after seeing headlights shining among the trees, said it was a regular occurrence in winter for deer to come to the road to obtain heat from the surface.

Crash investigator PC Richard Davies added: "I have policed the area for 15 years as a road policing officer and have seen many deer on the road by the forest."

Asked by the coroner whether it was possible or probable that the driver tried to avoid a deer, he replied: "That would be my best guess."

Mr Muskett's father Charles Muskett told the coroner: "He was a soft-hearted lad. He would try to avoid even a small animal."

Recording her verdict, the deputy coroner said there was no definite evidence about what caused the tragedy.

However, wild deer were prevalent at that time of year and it was possible that Mr Muskett had tried to steer to avoid one.

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