February 2003 Index
'Accident verdicts on race track
were split on whether a marshal died accidentally.
Verdicts of accidental death have been recorded on a driver and marshal
who died after a crash in a motor race. But, while the verdict on the
driver was unanimous, not all the jurors agreed the marshal died accidentally.
Only six of the eight jurors agreed, but the coroner accepted a majority
The two men died in June 2000 after the crash in a race at the Goodwood
Festival of Speed. Errors of judgment Amateur racing driver John Dawson-Damer,
59, from Australia, died instantly when his Lotus 63 sports car left the
track and hit a finish line gantry at the West Sussex circuit. Marshal
Andrew Carpenter, 40, who was hit by the car, died in hospital in Chichester
from his injuries.
West Sussex coroner Roger Stone told the jurors there was insufficient
evidence to suggest either man had been unlawfully killed. He said some
safety officials may have made errors of judgement but nobody at the Goodwood
track had been grossly negligent. After an hour-and-a-half of deliberation
the inquest jury returned to the courtroom to say they had agreed a unanimous
verdict on Mr Dawson-Damer and a majority verdict on Mr Carpenter, of
Polegate, East Sussex.
After the inquest, Mr Carpenter's fellow marshal, Steve Tarrant, who lost
a leg in the accident, said he thought there was proof safety officials
should have vetoed the gantry structure and that if it had not been there,
Mr Carpenter would not have died.
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