A MAN at the wheel of a car involved in a ‘catastrophic’ road accident in Malaysia was killed instantaneously, an inquest heard.
Simon John Hall, 40, formerly of Kirkby Stephen, was driving a Nissan Skyline which crashed into a concrete pillar before it burst into flames near the Kampung Pada roundabout in Kuala Lumpur.
He and his five female friends, three Filipino women and two Myanamar nationals, all perished in the accident on December 18 last year, an inquest at Kendal was told.
The hearing was told that the car failed to follow the left hand bend in the road and ended up colliding with a large concrete highway support.
Coroner Ian Smith said a post-mortem examination carried out in the UK concluded Mr Hall had died from multiple injuries.
A post mortem in Malaysia revealed he had a complete fracture of the spine and multiple chest injuries.
“There were no particles of soot in the airways which implies the death was instantaneous, before the fire set in,” said Mr Smith.
Mr Hall’s sister Karen Dobson, 43, said: “His best friend has a car very similar to Simon’s and he believes there must have been some kind of fault as the distance of the skid marks indicated he had been trying to brake for a long time.”
“There is a long skid mark which seems odd,” continued Mr Smith. “If you saw one that long you would think it was travelling at 150 miles per hour.
“For reasons we don’t know, he did not take a left hand bend and went straight into a large concrete support with catastrophic consequences.
“I don’t know the details of the speed of the car or if it had any mechanical defects.”
Mr Hall had grown up in Kirkby Stephen before working in Kendal from the age of 18 for building firm Haygarth’s and then Russell Armer. He did a degree in quantity surveying at Preston.
He had been in Malaysia for seven years after leaving the UK in 2000 for Kingston, New Jersey, in the US, and then going on to the British Virgin Islands and Bermuda.
Mr Hall had worked for Leighton Offshore, an engineering and construction company, where he had just been promoted three weeks before his death to head of pre-contracts.
“He had done very well for himself, had a good career and he liked spoiling people,” said his mother Ellie Hall, 66. “It was a waste of a life.”
At the time of his death, Mr Hall’s Malaysian girlfriend of ten years, 36-year-old Rina Minhad, was at home studying as the pair lived separately.
The family added that they had remained in contact with Ms Minhad, having just got back from a visit.
“We speak to her every day,” added Mrs Hall.
His father John Hall, 67, said: “He was quiet, kind, very thoughtful and his friends said he was always helping.
“He’d always been interested in cars and had three; a white Hummer, a Honda Integra and the Nissan Skyline which he died in.”
Speaking of the inquest, Mr Smith said: “The law says we have to hold an inquest.
“The law is not always in line with reality.
“It’s virtually impossible to investigate something that happened on a different continent.”
But he added the Malaysian authorities had been ‘more’ helpful than the average country.
He concluded that Mr Hall died in a road vehicle collision.