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I may never know why my husband died, says widow

Police find no answers for crash that killed careful rider Kevin

Barber Kevin Almond in his salon, and with his wife, Kay
Barber Kevin Almond in his salon, and with his wife, Kay

The widow of a big-hearted hairdresser killed in a motorcycle crash says the cause of the accident will never be known unless new witnesses come forward. Kay Almond was speaking after an inquest into the death of her husband Kevin failed to establish the circumstances of the crashon September 14. At the hearing at Maidstone’s County Hall on Tuesday, assistant coroner Kate Thomas ruled he had died in an accident, but there was little evidence to suggest what had caused it. The tragedy on the Ashford Road in Hollingbourne sparked an outpouring of grief in Herne Bay. Father-of-eight Mr Almond was popular as the long-time owner of the Nutcutters hair salon in Bank Street. Mrs Almond told the Gazette:

“I never once thought that Kev’s riding was to blame. He was always a safe and conscientious rider. He used to say he had far too much to live for to be silly. So the ruling hasn’t told me anything I didn’t already know.

Skid

“There is absolutely no comfort to be had in any of this and we will never know what happened, unless anyone else comes forward.”

From top: tributes left at the salon, his funeral procession and the scene of the accident
From top: tributes left at the salon, his funeral procession and the scene of the accident

A post-mortem found Mr Almond had died from head injuries suffered in the crash as be approached a roundabout near junction 8 of the M20 on Sunday, September 14. At the inquest, investigating officers PC David Burley and PC Oliver Jones said they did not know why the 55-year-old, who had 20 years of riding experience, had fallen off his bike. A skid mark was found on the approach to the roundabout, suggesting he had applied at least one of the bike’s two emergency brakes. A scratch in the road was also found nearby, suggesting the foot rest hit the surface as he lost control. This evidence led the officers to believe the rear of the bike began to rotate to the front because of a loss of traction. Then when releasing the brake, traction was restored, creating a large force that flung him head first over the handlebars or off the side. PC Burley said:

“I can’t answer what caused him to brake. It’s not the case that he was riding dangerously. He may have thought he was driving too fast. He may have seen an animal ahead of him. But those sorts of things I can’t answer, lean only guess at.”

There was no trace of alcohol or drugs in Mr Almond’s body and his 750cc Yamaha XPS Midnight Star bike was well maintained. There was also no indication he had hit a kerb or another vehicle in the lead up to the crash. The weather conditions were good and there were no faults in the road, and Mr Almond was wearing his full protective gear.

Herne Bay Gazette, November 20th 2014

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