Family devastated by loss of Lowestoft man

PUBLISHED: 09:39 14 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:34 06 July 2010

A MOTORCYCLIST, described by his family as a “gentle and caring man”, was killed when he ploughed into the side of a car, an inquest heard last Friday (December 11).

A MOTORCYCLIST, described by his family as a “gentle and caring man”, was killed when he ploughed into the side of a car, an inquest heard last Friday (December 11).

Michael Townsend, 37, of Carlton Colville, near Lowestoft, was on his way to work an evening shift as a railway signalman when the accident happened at about 5.25pm on July 17.

He was riding his Triumph Daytona motorcycle along the A12 south of Kessingland when he came up behind a row of cars waiting before the junction with Benacre Road.

The inquest at Lowestoft magistrates' court heard statements from the drivers of five vehicles who saw Mr Townsend pull out and speed up to overtake them just as the lead vehicle, a red Rover 216 driven by Mrs Joslin, began to turn right.

Mr Townsend's motorcycle hit the side of the car as it turned and he was thrown into the air and over the car. He was taken to James Paget University Hospital where he later died.

Greater Suffolk deputy coroner Yvonne Blake recorded a verdict of misadventure.

Mr Townsend's father Len, who lives in Oulton Broad, paid tribute to his son after the inquest.

“Mike was a good guy,” he said. “He had his faults but he was loved and liked by many people. He was a bloke who could change the atmosphere of a room by walking into it.

“Those of us left are trying to make the most of it particularly for his daughter Becky at this difficult time.”

He added that his son had always enjoyed biking, and that they used to go for family trips on their motorcycles.

“He was normally such a careful driver. I can't understand what happened.”

Mr Townsend's partner Jackie Capps said her heart was broken by the loss of her partner, but that he was doing something he loved when he died.

“Michael was a young man who wouldn't knowingly hurt anybody,” she said. “He didn't have a malicious bone in his body.

“He was gentle, caring and a man I was proud to have by my side. If he was here he would be totally crushed at the devastation his death has caused.

“I would do anything in this world to be able to bring Michael back, to protect him from his hurt, to hold him and reassure him that in time everything will be alright, but I cannot do that.”

She urged motorcyclists to be aware of the dangers and be careful on the roads.

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