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Inquest told Beenham barrister Stuart Frame had been drinking and taking cannabis before fatal crash

A BARRISTER had been drinking and taking drugs before veering into an oncoming vehicle, a coroner heard.

Stuart James Frame died almost instantly following the 100mph-plus, head-on collision, an inquest in Reading Town Hall heard on Thursday, March 21.

Stuart Frame enjoyed adventurous sports
Stuart Frame enjoyed adventurous sports

The hearing was told that 51-year-old Mr Frame had been drinking in The Bull pub in Theale High Street on Saturday, January 7 last year.

CCTV footage showed him arriving in a grey Mercedes C-Class Saloon at 9.20pm, leaving the bar almost two-and-a-half hours later at 11.44pm.

There is a gap of around 17 minutes until the Mercedes is seen pulling away from The Bull at 12.01am on Sunday, January 8.

Mr Frame then headed off on the A4 towards the home he shared with partner, Lisa Ottaway, in Clay Lane, Beenham.

Meanwhile another motorist, Marcus Kozicki, was heading home in a Volkswagen Caddy in the opposite direction towards Newbury.

He described his horror, in the split second before impact, upon realising the Mercedes had swerved into his lane.

Mr Kozicki said in a statement there was a “big bang…and then blackness.”

He had sustained a broken arm and hip, a fractured pelvis, broken ribs, a broken foot and a fractured eye socket.

Witnesses said the Mercedes appeared to have been travelling at up to 70mph and there was no attempt to brake before the impact.

Paramedics tried to resuscitate Mr Frame at the scene but his injuries were too catastrophic, the inquest heard.

Tests later showed 130mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in his system.

The legal limit for driving is 80mg.

Cannabis was also found in his system.

A medical report suggested that, because there was an even larger ratio in his urine, Mr Frame had apparently consumed more alcohol than shown in the blood sample.

A post mortem examination determined the cause of death to be multiple injuries but there was no bruising on the chest, suggesting Mr Frame had not been wearing his seat belt, the hearing was told.

Assistant Berkshire coroner Ian Wade KC said Mr Frame was known to have “a predilection for driving rapidly” and “enjoyed exceeding the speed limit” which had caused his family concern in the past.

He described Mr Frame’s speed that night as “clearly inappropriate and unsafe” and added: “It’s also clear that, after spending two hours in a local public house, that he had been imbibing alcohol and had consumed an unsafe, if not dangerous, amount.

“There’s a reason why alcohol is controlled and restricted for drivers…precisely to avoid this kind of tragic outcome.”

Mr Wade said the combined speed of the vehicles on colliding was “well over 100mph and the impact was tremendous.”

He said there was no suggestion Mr Frame had deliberately caused the collision and an expert witness said it was likely he had momentarily fallen asleep.

Mr Wade formally concluded that death was the consequence of a road traffic collision.

Mr Frame is survived by his partner Lisa, son Harrison, daughter Olivia, father Alex, mother Ivy and brother David.

His father, a chartered surveyor from Upper Bucklebury, told the Newbury Weekly News following the tragedy that his son had adored his family and had been very close to them all.

He added: "We have been inundated with cards.

"One judge said he was one of the best barristers who had appeared in front of him, which makes you very proud."

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