James Setterington inquest: Motorcyclist's body found five days after crash in Sheffield

A Sheffield chef reported missing last year was found fatally injured after crashing his motorbike into a tree at a roundabout, an inquest heard.

James Setterington, from the Manor and Arbourthorne area of the city, was found dead in September 2022 five days after he was reported missing from home.

The 20-year-old, who was the youngest of six siblings, went missing on September 4 and a police search was launched which operated on the assumption that he was a high risk missing person following reports that he had been feeling depressed and suicidal following the break-up of his relationship with his girlfriend.

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Police used Apple’s ‘Find My iPhone’ app and Radio-frequency location technology in their search, however, James’ body was found by a relative five days later outside the main search area on Norton Roundabout, Bochum Parkway.

James Setterington died from multiple blunt force trauma suffered in a road traffic collision, an inquest foundJames Setterington died from multiple blunt force trauma suffered in a road traffic collision, an inquest found
James Setterington died from multiple blunt force trauma suffered in a road traffic collision, an inquest found

James’ body was discovered around eight feet away from his motorbike, which had been heavily damaged in the collision and was found with twisted handlebars.

The speed that James had been travelling at when he crashed on the roundabout island could not be determined, but investigators found no evidence that he had attempted to break in the moments before the collision.

Speaking of his late brother at the inquest today (May 22), Daniel said: “He was big into his motorbikes, he loved to do the tinkering himself. He loved anything with wheels. He kept to himself but he wasn’t withdrawn – he didn’t waste words. He knew what he was about.”

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Assistant coroner Stephen Eccleson asked Daniel about James’ mood before he went missing. Daniel explained that James had been due to move into his flat and had been optimistic about how things were going. He added that he had no impression of a desire from James to hurt himself.

A phone search by police found that James had researched methods of suicide in the time before his death. A pathology report found evidence of cocaine and alcohol use which may have been a factor in James’ collision.

Daniel told the court that James has used cocaine on two occasions to his knowledge prior to his death.

Police Officer Mark Brady, who has 18 years of experience with South Yorkshire Police, said that he had never experienced a case of a person driving a motorbike into an obstacle as a method of suicide. However, he added that James would have known the roundabout well, and he cannot hypothesise as to how James came to crash.

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The inquest heard that James’ other brother, David, died shortly after James from what is believed to have been a heart complication.

Assistant Coroner Mr Eccleson said he had no evidence that James had suffered a heart condition that factored into his death.

Concluding the case, he said: “I find that James was upset at the time in question and there is evidence of some threats of suicide, the phone searches indicated he had been looking methods up – that isn’t evidence itself of intention.

“I find that James did take some cocaine in the days before his death.

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“I accept the medical cause of death: multiple blunt force trauma in the context of cocaine use. The death may have been instantaneous, I hope that provides a small crumb of comfort to the family.

“It is a most puzzling set of circumstances…it is unusual and we may never know why James rode in the way he rode. I am going to conclude that James Setterington died on September 4 at the roundabout of Bochum Parkway and Norton Lane when he drove his motorbike without deviation into the roundabout causing catastrophic injuries resulting in his instant death. I will record this as a road traffic collision.”

He offered his ‘most profound condolences’ to James’ family, adding that ‘James sounds like a lovely young man.’

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