Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Teenage girl burns to death in car crash 'after row with boyfriend over getting her nails done'

A girl of 19 died in a car crash fireball after texting her friend
that her boyfriend had "got the major hump with her".

Lauren Jones
A teenager burned to death in her car when she crashed into a tree
allegedly after a row with her boyfriend, an inquest has heard.

Lauren Jones died in the fireball shortly after sending a text message
to a friend revealing her boyfriend had "got the major hump" with her
after she left him early to get her nails manicured.

On the 19-year-old's mobile phone, found just yards from the blazing
car, was a text message from boyfriend Gareth Standing saying "hope
your nails look nice", the inquest heard on Tuesday.

Lauren, from Hascombe, Surrey, had been at Gareth's family home for
his mother's birthday celebration and had been planning a holiday with

However, the pair had then allegedly rowed over her leaving early to
meet up with pal Kayleigh Smith-Oakley, to get her nails done.

In a text to Kayleigh, Lauren asked her not to answer any message from
Gareth Standing.

Shortly after pulling away from a set of traffic lights her car ended
up in a ball of flames after slewing off the road and hitting trees.

Her car had hit a tree side-on with such force that the two sides of
the vehicle were almost touching. The fuel lines ruptured and leaking
petrol caught fire.

Other motorists who made valiant efforts to reach Lauren were beaten
back by the ferocity of the blaze.

Kayleigh told the inquest she had arranged to meet Lauren in
Godalming, Surrey, at 4pm on July 24 last year.

She said: "Then I spoke to her and she said she couldn't because he
was having a go at her about leaving so early.

"I'm not sure if it was about the holiday. I think it was about her
not being at his house for a long period of time."

Mr Standing denied to coroner Michael Kendall that the pair had argued.

Mr Kendall said: "You say you had a lovely day together and had no arguments.

"The evidence we will hear of phone calls and text messages was that
you had a bit of a disagreement about the holiday that day."

Lauren's boyfriend replied: "Not that I know of. We joked about how
many camels we could sell each other for, just joking around."

The coroner asked again: "But you don't remember having an argument
about her having her nails done that day?"

"No," said the Mr Standing. Mr Kendall then said: "The police log
shows a text message to Kayleigh at nearly 1pm, saying: 'Gareth has
got the major hump with me'," adding that just before her crash Lauren
had texted Kayleigh to say: "If Gaz messages, you will ignore it".

The last message was sent at 4.02pm and 32 seconds. By 4.05pm her car
was burning and other drivers were calling the emergency services.

Both Mr Standing and Miss Smith-Oakley told the inquest they had never
seen Lauren use her phone while driving, either for text messages or
phone calls. She said she was a "very sensible" driver.

A police investigation found Lauren had lost control on a sweeping
right-hand bend at around the 70mph speed limit and spun off the road

A pathologist concluded Lauren had died of extensive burn injuries.

Mr Kendall said at the hearing in Crawley, West Sussex: "We cannot be
absolutely sure of the precise reason why she left the road."

He recorded a verdict of accidental death.
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