A coroner has warned about the dangers of texting while driving, following the death of a young woman.

Marni Triggs, of Rousham Road in Tackley, died after her Peugeot 205 swerved into the path of a lorry.

The 21-year-old crashed while driving along the A4095 near Woodstock in August last year.

An inquest yesterday was told there was no obvious cause of the crash, as the car had no mechanical defects and driving conditions were good.

But Oxford Coroner Nicholas Gardiner heard evidence that Miss Triggs' phone had been receiving and sending text messages just before the crash.

Mr Gardiner, recording a verdict of accidental death, said piecing together the exact circumstances of the crash was "guesswork".

But he took the opportunity to warn about the use of mobiles at the wheel - just days before the penalty for using a handheld mobile phone while driving is doubled to £60.

Pc Dave Mitchell told the inquest that mobile phone records showed Miss Triggs was texting her boyfriend just before the crash.

Although Pc Mitchell could not be certain about the timings, it appeared the last text was sent at 2.16pm - three minutes before the 999 call reporting the crash.

Mr Mitchell said Miss Triggs' phone was found lying by the side of the road after the crash, which indicated it had been loose in the car.

Barry Radford, of Cuddesdon Way, Oxford, who was driving the lorry involved in the crash said: "I remember seeing Miss Triggs' car going into the edge of the verge. She tried to correct her steering, I think that's what threw her across in front of me."

Pathologist Elizabeth Soilleux of Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital, said Miss Triggs died at the scene from multiple injuries including skull and rib fractures.

Miss Triggs' boyfriend Rowan Coombe said in a statement they had been texting each other that afternoon while he was shopping in Milton Keynes.

Mr Coombe told the inquest that he had not realised she was driving at the time.

Collision investigator Pc Mark Howard said it was possible Miss Triggs had pulled over to use her phone a few minutes before.

Mr Gardiner said: "When considering why this should have happened one comes into the realms of guesswork.

"There is, of course, no such thing as hands-free texting. Texting is even more disruptive than using a telephone as a telephone - you have to look at the screen.

"The dangers of using mobile phones while driving have been well-publicised, but the dangers of text messaging are considerably more. The only safe course of action while driving is to switch off your phone."

Speaking after the inquest verdict, Miss Triggs' mother Elizabeth, 50, said: "We don't believe she would have been texting. None of us do. She was very anti-using mobile phones."


This appeared in the Oxford Mail Monday, February 26

In our report of the inquest on Marni Triggs in Friday's Oxford Mail, we inadvertently omitted the coroner's verdict of accidental death.

Ms Triggs, 21, of Rousham Road, Tackley, died when her car swerved into the path of a lorry on the A4095 near Woodstock.

Pc Dave Mitchell, of Thames Valley Police, told the inquest that Ms Triggs and her boyfriend, Rowan Coombe, had been texting each other on their mobile phones up to three minutes before the 999 call reporting the crash.

As our story made clear, it was uncertain if Ms Triggs had stopped to text Mr Coombe or if she was texting while driving.

However, Oxfordshire coroner Nicholas Gardiner took the opportunity to warn of the dangers of texting while driving.

This warning formed the basis of our story and the headline, Switch it off.

Our story and the comments made by the coroner were accurate, but we apologise to the families for the omission of the verdict. Our reporter, Ellie Simmonds, included the verdict in her report but unfortunately it was removed accidentally in the production process.