Couple died as car flipped over and hit walls

Agnes Parkinson and Stephen Rigbye
Agnes Parkinson and Stephen Rigbye
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A popular teacher and her partner died when their car struck a stone wall and flipped over, an inquest has heard.

Mum-of-three Agnes Parkinson, who worked at Runshaw College in Leyland and lived in Mawdesley, died from multiple injuries, including a fractured skull, in the collision in March.

Toxicology tests later showed her partner Stephen Rigbye, from Scarisbrick, who was driving and who also died from multiple injuries, had traces of cocaine in his body and was three times the legal alcohol limit.

It is thought the crash, on Bannister Lane, near Ormskirk, happened at around 12.30am after a neighbour heard a bang.

But the scene was only discovered at 7am, the inquest was told.

Their devastated families attended the hearing at Ormskirk Magistrates’ Court, in which coroner Sian Jones concluded their deaths were caused by a road traffic collision, with the substances in Mr Rigbye’s body playing a part.

The relatives were too distressed to speak.

During the hearing, Agnes’ friend Nicola Longworth said she and her husband had spent an enjoyable afternoon and evening drinking at a pub and having a roast dinner at her home in Wrightington before the tragedy occurred.

She said she did not think they were planning to drive, and added: “We were really, really drunk.

“Agnes had a room at ours. There was no need to drive.”

She said she had got a number for a cab firm off her iPad for them and said: “They had rang for a taxi. He was speaking to them on the phone.”

Mrs Longworth went to bed and believed they had got a cab just before midnight.

She added she did not know about Mr Rigbye’s cocaine use and would not have “tolerated” it as her child was asleep upstairs.

Accident investigator PC Rachel Carberry said it appeared the BMW the couple were travelling had not been braking at the time of the crash, on a sharp right hand bend. It mounted a grass verge and struck a stone wall, going partly upwards, before flipping over and hitting a second wall before stopping on a resident’s driveway.

The officer said: “Mr Rigbye was over the limit and there’s obviously a lot of communication on the effect this has on people’s ability to drive.”

The coroner expressed her condolences.