Dad killed in smash had 'meow meow' in bloodstream

A YOUNG dad killed in a horror car crash in South Yorkshire had traces of the since-banned drug 'meow meow' in his bloodstream.

Tom Cole, 23, was flung from his Vauxhall Tigra last January after the vehicle hit a VW Beetle outside Royston, near Barnsley.

An inquest at Sheffield Coroner's Court heard the mechanic - dad to six-year-old Cieran - died of multiple injuries, including a fractured skull.

A toxicology report said there were traces of mephedrone - also known as meow meow or MCAT - in his blood which could have affected his driving.

At the time of the crash mephedrone was a 'legal high' - but three months later was designated a Class B substance due to new laws rushed through Parliament.

Drivers who witnessed the smash wept as they recalled the events leading up to the crash.

Mr Cole had dropped off his cousin Jason Bray in Royston, and was on his way to take friend Elizabeth Hartley to Wakefield, when the smash happened on Lee Lane between Royston and Mapplewell.

Civil engineer Gareth Miller was driving in the opposite direction, behind a convertible VW Beetle. He told the court: "I saw some headlights appear on the brow of the hill driving from Royston. They appeared to be swaying from side to side."

Mr Miller broke down in tears as he recounted the Tigra creeping onto the wrong side of the road before it hit the Beetle.

Both cars span off the road. When Mr Miller rushed to the Tigra he saw the driver's door had been ripped off.

Mr Cole, who was not wearing a seat belt, had been flung 10 to 15 feet from the car. His passenger, 16-year-old Miss Hartley, who was wearing her belt, survived.

Beetle driver Kathryn Holmes had been returning from a nursing shift at Barnsley District General Hospital. She wept as she said: "The car came over the white lines. I thought it was going to move back but it didn't."

Crash investigator Pc John Glossop said Mr Cole was 0.9m on the wrong side of the road when he hit the Beetle. He said there was no evidence either car had been going above the speed limit.

Assistant deputy coroner Donald Coutts-Wood recorded a verdict of accidental death.

He said there was an element of "misadventure" because Mr Cole, who lived with his parents in Notton near Barnsley, had taken mephedrone.

Mr Cole's dad Martin, 51, who attended with wife Caroline, 50, told the inquest: "There are so many things that don't seem right and don't fit with Tom's nature."

He said his son always wore his seatbelt and had never been known to take drugs.

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