Working holiday in Australia ends in tragedy following road traffic accident


A working holiday in Australia ended in tragedy for a Spilsby-area man when he was killed in a road traffic accident, an inquest heard.

Richard Waters, of West Keal, was driving a Ford camper van on the Bruce Highway at Hampden in Queensland when it was in collision with a Kenworth Prime Mover truck towing two trailer loads of soya beanmeal.

The 25-year-old, who has connections to the Boston area, died at the scene after sustaining multiple injuries, including a torn aorta.

The same fate befell his 20-year-old German passenger-seat companion, Martha Boek, whom he had recently met on his travels in the country.

According to a toxicology report, he had 77mgrams of alcohol per 100ml of blood - the legal limit in Australia being 50 mgrams compared with 80mgrams in England.

When she was told the tragic news by officers from Horncastle police, his mother, Ruth, was able to confirm identification after being shown a photo of a tattoo on his right leg which depicted the 78-year-old main character in the Disney cartoon Up - an image he had chosen to commemorate his late grandfather.

The sad events of March 1 were recounted at an inquest in Spilsby on Thursday where the Assistant Coroner for Central Lincolnshire, Marianne Johnson, recorded a verdict of death as a result of a road traffic accident.

At the wheel of the truck, which jackknifed then rolled over on to one side, had been 52 -year-old Anthony Williamson, an HGV driver of 19 years’ experience.

He suffered minor injuries, including a gashed hand and a swollen knee, but was able to self-extract from his cab.

In a statement later, he said the camper van had been travelling towards him on the wrong side of the road. But as he swerved to take evasive action, its driver did likewise, resulting in a centre-of-the-road collision.

John Franklin, an investigations officer with Australian police, confirmed this version of what happened on the basis of analysis of skid marks, the position of the vehicles and other evidence from the scene of the crash.

Speed was not thought to be a factor in the accident, and both vehicles had been in sound condition, though the camper van was totally destroyed by the impact

A check on the times of Mr Waters’ last calls on his mobile phone indicated that he had probably had a ‘maximum of four hours’ sleep’ the previous night before setting off with Martha from the resort of Airlie Beach the inquest was told.

This prompted the Assistant Coroner to suggest that he may have been tired and lost concentration, causing him to drift on to the wrong side of the carriageway.

No member of Mr Water’s family was present at the hearing but Ms Johnson made a point of expressing her sympathy.

Following the tragedy Boston Amateur Boxing Club’s fighters showed their solidarity with clubmate Andy Waters, brother to Richard, when they hosted their annual home show. The Boston fighters wore T-Shirts with the words ‘In Memory of Richard Waters 1989-2015’ emblazoned on them.