A 29-year-old "kind and caring" motorcyclist died after crashing into a parked council-contracted van while attempting an overtaking manoeuvre, an inquest has heard.

Alexander Wilford, of Beccles, died at the scene crash on the A12 near the White Hart pub at Blythburgh.

An inquest into his death was held at Suffolk Coroner's Court by the assistant coroner for Suffolk, Daniel Sharpstone.

The crash happened on May 25, 2023.

Lowestoft Journal: Alex Wilford's inquest was held at Suffolk Coroner's Court on April 15Alex Wilford's inquest was held at Suffolk Coroner's Court on April 15 (Image: Archant)

The hearing was attended by family members who heard on the day of his death he had been to visit his parents and been riding with one of his best friends.


When Mr Wilford was making his way back to his Beccles home, travelling northbound near the White Hart pub, he had overtaken a Range Rover.

"Simultaneously" a tractor in front of the Range Rover pulled out to overtake a stationary council-contracted van, a Vauxhall Movano.

After passing the Range Rover, Mr Wilford did not have time to react to the parked van, broke, and was propelled off the bike and thrown into the back of the parked vehicle. 

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The tractor driver was a council contractor who was employed to cut the grass verges along the A12, as was the driver of the parked van, who had placed warning signs to alert road users of work to the verges.

Lowestoft Journal: The crash happened on the A12 at BlythburghThe crash happened on the A12 at Blythburgh (Image: Archant)


The men who were contracted to work on the grass verges by Suffolk Highways were in communication on their radio system.

A transcript was read by PC Dean Webb between the workers moments before the impact.

It detailed how two workmen tried to warn the council-contracted tractor driver, Simon Blowers, that a motorbike was coming.

One workman said on the radio "Bike coming up fast", and another man responded that he could hear him.

Mr Blowers didn't hear these messages and pulled out to overtake his colleague's parked van.

As the tractor driver pulled out to overtake him a message from one of his colleagues said "Woah, Woah, Woah", as Mr Wilford then crashed into the stationary vehicle.

Another worker, Darren Phillips, was sat in the parked Vauxhall at the moment of impact having just put warning signs out before the men commenced work.

Mr Phillip's witness account was read in court.

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It read: "I could see Simon's tractor was halfway overtaking me, I knew there would be more traffic behind me due to the tractor.

"I then heard a loud roar, the noise when a motorbike opens up.

"I looked in my driver's side wing mirror and I could see someone on a motorbike.

"He was sitting straight up on the bike. It looked like he was trying to undertake the tractor.

"All I remember are his eyes, they seemed to be looking into mine.

"I grabbed the steering wheel as I knew he was going to hit my vehicle."


A police investigation was launched, in conjunction with the Health and Safety Executive, which concluded no offences by the workmen were committed and that they had operated "in accordance with [HSE] guidelines".

Lowestoft Journal: The inquest into Alexander Wilford's death was held on April 15The inquest into Alexander Wilford's death was held on April 15 (Image: Submitted)

PC Webb had prepared a report on the accident and concluded he believed that Mr Wilford likely "didn't see the parked van".

The court heard that Mr Wilford's upper body hit the back end right side of the van.

The workmen were quick to call the emergency services.

That evening shortly after 8pm ambulance staff pronounced Mr Wilford dead.

The road was closed for more than seven hours while investigations took place.

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A GP medical report said that he was in "good health with no medical problems at the time of his death" and a post-mortem examination said the cause of death was "fatal injuries and heart ruptures", both his wrists were fractured too.

Mr Sharpstone concluded Mr Wilford had died as a consequence of a road traffic collision and also offered his condolences to the family.

Mr Wilford was born on October 7, 1993, in Kingston Upon Thames.

He met his partner Rachel Doran in 2017 while the pair were working for Hammond Recovery in Halesworth.

He later left his role as a recovery operative for the company in 2018 to spend more time caring for his mother who lived in Woodbridge and returned to his previous work as a tree surgeon.

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The couple later bought a home together in Beccles and moved into it together in March 2020, a week before the first lockdown.

Days before the fatal crash which claimed Mr Wilford's life the couple had just received the news that they had finally been accepted for IVF funding, after three years of struggling to conceive.

Lowestoft Journal: Alex Wilford's Aqua Trad van for the business he launched in 2023Alex Wilford's Aqua Trad van for the business he launched in 2023 (Image: Facebook)

In early 2023 Mr Wilford had launched his very own window cleaning and exterior preservation business, called Aqua Trad.


A statement from Ms Doran read in court said: "Alex was a kind and caring young man and during the following months and years he continued to follow a passion of researching thoroughly before setting up his new business, Aquatrad, a window cleaning and exterior preservation business.

"Alex always rode with care and consideration, mainly known for being at the back of the pack, never feeling he needed to rush the enjoyment.

"Alex and I had lived together as soul partners for over four years, he became a linchpin in the Doran family, all considering him as my partner, son, brother and uncle.

"He leaves behind a devastated extended family."

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Mr Wilford's father added: "Alex was an active and creative individual.

"He had recently started up his own business Aqua Trad and was enjoying every moment of his life.

"He lived with his partner Rachel with whom he had just bought a house, he was in good health both physically and mentally.

"He was a kind and generous man and will be remembered by many with love and fondness."

His funeral was held at Waveney Memorial Park & Crematorium in Ellough.