West Yorkshire badminton player killed in Thailand road incident ‘ a real-life angel’

Rebecca Shaw.

Rebecca Shaw.

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A national badminton champion died in Thailand when her friend rode their motorbike across a four-lane dual carriageway and into the path of a truck, an inquest has heard.

Rebecca Shaw, 32, from Bradley, Huddersfield, was on her way to swim with elephants with Julie Robinson when the “tragic” accident happened in Phuket in December 2015.

Miss Shaw, who played for the England badminton team 10 times and was described by her family as a “real-life angel”, was travelling in Thailand after completing a yoga course in Bali.

The inquest into her death at Bradford Coroner’s Court heard the exact details of the accident remained unclear due to witnesses giving conflicting accounts.

Coroner Martin Fleming said the driver of the Toyota pick-up truck, Natthaphon Klomkhan, told police he was driving at approximately 60kph (37.5mph) on the morning of December 12 2015 when the motor scooter, which Miss Shaw was riding pillion, drove from a side road, across the lane of traffic and directly in front of his vehicle.

Mr Klomkhan said he braked, sounded his horn and flashed his lights but was unable to avoid colliding with the bike.

Ms Robinson, who could not be contacted to attend the inquest, said she checked there was no traffic before driving across the road and claimed the driver was travelling too fast and failed to take evasive action by slowing down, changing lanes or pulling into a large car park by the road.

In an email sent by Ms Robinson to the coroner’s court in July, she said: “He just drove straight into the back of the scooter, sending both of us flying through the air at some height.”

She added: “I believe the main cause of the accident was excessive speed by the pick-up driver.”

Ms Robinson described blood pouring out of Miss Shaw’s mouth after her head hit a metal barrier.

She said the ambulance crew resuscitated her friend twice at the scene but she was pronounced dead at hospital.

The inquest heard police in Thailand had considered charging Ms Robinson in connection with the accident.

Mr Fleming said photographs of the scene showed Ms Robinson’s view would have been obscured and that crossing the carriageway would have left little margin for error.

He said it was unclear whether Mr Klomkhan was driving too fast.

He ruled Miss Shaw, who was wearing a helmet, died as a result of head injuries sustained in a road traffic collision.

He said: “On the 12 December 2015, Rebecca Leanne Shaw was riding pillion on a motor scooter when the driver made a right hand turn to cross a four-lane dual carriageway into the path of an approaching pick-up truck.

“As a result of the collision, she sustained fatal injuries.”

In a eulogy read to the inquest by the coroner’s officer, Miss Shaw’s mother Marjorie Shaw said: “She was a real-life angel who cared for everyone around her. Her presence always lit up the room.”

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