An inquest today (Thursday) heard it is likely mud on the road contributed to collision which killed John Spurling, 58, on a single-track road near Newton Tracey.

Mud in the road could have caused a collision which killed a father-of-two near Newton Tracey in January, an inquest has heard.

John Spurling, 58, from Harracott, died of head injuries after the open-top, three-wheeled car he was driving overturned on a bend on January 24.

The inquest at Barnstaple Civic Centre today (Thursday) heard Mr Spurling had popped out in his prized possession - a DRK kit car - to fetch some bread.

It is thought as he approached the left-hand bend in the single track road between Newton Tracey and St John’s Chapel, his wheel skidded on mud in the centre of the single carriageway.

Forensic collision investigator PC Andrew Fletcher said he believed Mr Spurling had tried to correct the movement, but ended up ‘overcorrecting’.

He said: “In effect the vehicle drove up the hedge, then rolled over. It rolled about three times; it would have happened in seconds.”

Mr Spurling had been wearing a safety harness and the inquest heard he was a ‘very competent’ driver.

PC Fletcher said he did not believe wearing protective headgear, such as a crash helmet, would necessarily have altered the outcome of the collision.

But he did say had the vehicle been fitted with a roll cage, it may have saved Mr Spurling’s life.

Forensic vehicle examiner Geoffrey Chapman added: “If the vehicle had been fitted with some sort of roll-over protection, the fatality could have been avoided.”

Due to the age of the vehicle, it is not a legal requirement to have a roll cage, nor is it to wear a helmet.

The inquest heard car had been purchased by Mr Spurling in 1998 - one of only 59 made - and was in good condition.

His wife Karen Spurling said: “My father purchased one and John saw it being built.

“They were only making 58 but he persuaded the company to build one more for him.”

Mrs Spurling said the couple had enjoyed many fun journeys in the two-seater car, and it felt very ‘safe and stable’.

The couple, who married in 1988, moved to North Devon around four years ago with their daughters Ellie and Samantha.

Summing up the inquest, deputy coroner John Tomalin recorded a conclusion of death by road traffic collision.

He said: “It is not a legal requirement (to have a roll cage fitted in this car) but I am sure the 58 other DRK owners are aware of what has happened to Mr Spurling.

“I think it is for them to consider what’s the most appropriate action to take in respect of their own vehicles.”