Singer Black died from severe head injuries after crash on icy road

Inquest told musician’s vehicle spun out of control near Cork airport last January

British singer Colin Vearncombe, who had a hit with Wonderful Life under the stage name Black, died from severe head injuries sustained when his car spun out of control on an icy road and crashed into another car in Co Cork, an inquest has heard. Photograph: Gisli Snaer/PA.

British singer Colin Vearncombe, who had a hit with Wonderful Life under the stage name Black, died from severe head injuries sustained when his car spun out of control on an icy road and crashed into another car in Co Cork, an inquest has heard. Photograph: Gisli Snaer/PA.

 

British singer Colin Vearncombe, who had a hit with Wonderful Life under the stage name Black, died from severe head injuries sustained when his car spun out of control on an icy road and crashed into another car in Co Cork, an inquest has heard.

The jury returned a verdict of accidental death after hearing evidence of how Mr Vearncombe, a 53-year-old married father of three, died in Cork University Hospital on January 26th last following a two car collision on the Cork-Kinsale Road 16 days earlier.

Zbigniew Skorupa (60) told the inquest he had been to Cork airport to collect his grandsons, Damian (20) and Daniel Wesolowski (16), and was returning home to Bandon when the collision occurred near the Five Mile Bridge.

Mr Skorupa, a Polish national, said he was driving at about 60km/h in his Volkswagen Passat because the roads were slippery due to ice and as he approached a long left hand bend in the road at around 9am, he saw a green Lexus coming at him sideways and the car appeared to be spinning on the road surface.

Mr Skorupa said Mr Vearncombe’s car continued spinning across the road into his path and the front of his car collided with the rear of Mr Vearncombe’s Lexus, which ended up going through a ditch before coming to a stop in a field.

He recalled it being bright at the time and traffic being light but the it was cold and the roads were icy. He said neither he nor Damian Wesolowski were injured but Daniel Wesolowski was taken by ambulance to hospital to be treated for a cut.

Spun around

Damian Wesolowksi told the inquest that he, his grandfather and brother were wearing their seatbelts when the Lexus approached on a bend and it appeared to have spun around completely when it came on to their side of the road before the collision.

John Walsh, an off duty fire officer, said he was travelling with his colleague Anthony McCarthy to Cork at the time. They had a few slips and skids on black ice as they began the climb up towards Cork airport from the Five Mile Bridge when they heard a loud bang behind them, he recalled.

The men went back and saw the two cars had collided. They went to tend the occupants with Mr Walsh saying he found Mr Vearncombe unconscious with his torso between the driver and passenger seats and his seatbelt around his thigh.

Mr Walsh gave first aid to Mr Vearncombe until the emergency services arrived and he was rushed by ambulance to Cork University Hospital. He never regained consciousness.

Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster said Mr Vearncombe, originally from Liverpool but who was resident in west Cork, died from traumatic brain injury with brain swelling, contusions and bleeds along with oxygen deprivation to the brain due to a road traffic collision.

Garda Gillian Meaney told the inquest Mr Skorupa was breath-tested at the scene for alcohol and found to have none in his system. A file on the crash was sent to the DPP who directed that there be no prosecution in the case, she said.

Cork City Coroner Philip Comyn asked a friend of Mr Vearncombe, who lived near Schull, to convey his sympathy to Mr Vearncombe’s widow, Camilla, and their three sons - Max, Marius and Milan on their loss.