Coroner rules teenager’s death was ‘tragic accident’

Melissa Bladen
Melissa Bladen

A TEENAGER died and her mum was seriously injured after their car skidded on black ice into the path of an oncoming lorry.

Melissa Bladen, 18, was a passenger in the car, which was being driven by her mum Tracey Bladen, when it hit the black ice and slid across the carriageway of Moor Lane, Brierley, on February 16.

Miss Bladen, a student at Pontefract New College, died as a result of head injuries.

At an inquest in Sheffield last week, assistant deputy coroner Robert Forrest said that the ‘absolutely ghastly, tragic accident’ had been unpreventable after hearing evidence from both drivers involved and from road traffic accident experts.

He recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Melissa’s distraught mother Tracey spoke during the inquest about the loss of her daughter, a former head girl and member of Amnesty International, who had hoped to go to Durham University to study forensic anthropology.

She said: “This has changed my life beyond recognition. She was a joy, an inspiration and a beautiful young woman. I was truly blessed to have her as my daughter.

“There isn’t a second I don’t miss her and I wish with all my being that fateful day had never happened.

“I have lost not only my daughter but my best friend. The joy and honour of being her mum bears testament to her loving soul.”

Ms Bladen, who lived with her daughter in Great Houghton, told in a statement how they left the house together that morning and set off in her black Renault Clio, both wearing their seat belts.

She was unable to recall the crash, in which she sustained fractures to the pelvis, spine and arm, and head injuries.

She was in hospital for 96 days.

Mr Forrest concluded that a ‘horrible catastrophic accident from out of the blue led to Melissa’s death’.

He said: “Anyone who heard what sort of a person she was cannot feel anything but very sad at her death.”