Cheshire: Loving dad hailed as ‘an angel’ dies in tragic car crash

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A BANNED driver took his friend’s car keys while he was asleep and died after the BMW crashed into a tree, an inquest has heard.

Loving dad Colin Chapman known fondly as ‘Chapo’ had been drinking with friends on March 28 this year.

The 30-year-old factory worker slipped out of his Winsford flat on Aston Avenue after his friend fell asleep at around 11pm, Warrington Coroner’s Court was told on Wednesday.

Police officers woke him the following morning to tell them about the fatal crash.

In a statement, his friend, who had left the keys to his BMW 1 series on a coffee table, said he would have refused if Mr Chapman had asked to borrow the car as he knew he was disqualified from driving.

He added: “Chapo was an angel, always willing to help everyone. He was always smiling, being the life in the room.”

Mr Chapman’s mum, Julie, who saw him three days before he died, said in a statement: “Colin was a loving father to his daughter and spent as much time as possible with her when he wasn’t working. He was besotted with her.

“Colin was well known and liked in the local community.”

Crowds clapped, she said, as his funeral cortege passed by.

Pathologist Dr David Butterworth, who carried out a post mortem examination, said in a statement that the cause of death was severe head injury.

Toxicologist Philippa Wood said tests confirmed that Mr Chapman had drunk more than twice the legal limit of alcohol for driving and had taken cannabis and cocaine before he died.

PC Michael Thompson, who carried out an investigation, said Mr Chapman had driven the black BMW along Dalefords Lane in Winsford towards Sandiway, at an estimated speed of 71mph. The speed limit is 40mph.

As he approached a right hand bend, he crossed the carriageway, hit a nearside grass verge and collided with trees.

Forensic vehicle examiner Aiden Hughes said there was no evidence of any sudden tyre, mechanical or brake failure which could have led to a loss of control.

Heath Westerman, assistant coroner for Cheshire, concluded that Mr Chapman died as a result of a road traffic accident and expressed his sincere condolences to his family and friends.