THE INQUEST into the death of a Hampshire police motorcyclist who was killed in a crash while on duty is set to start today.

PC Steve Rawson, who worked with the Serious Crime Directorate, was riding an unmarked police bike when it was in collision with a car in Southampton.

The jury inquest, which will be held at the city’s Civic Centre, is expected to last eight days, with several police witnesses giving evidence.

The death of the popular 40-year-old last April sent shockwaves throughout the force, sparking friends, colleagues and members of the public to donate thousands of pounds to his young family.

His wife Kerry was left “overwhelmed” by the support they received and said the money would be used to help their son and daughter, who were seven-months-old and four-years-old at the time of the crash.

Hundreds of people attended his funeral, which saw police in uniform alongside those in Hawaiian shirts after his family requested no black dress in memory of the officer’s sense of humour.

PC Rawson, who worked at Hedge End police station before he moved to the major crime team, was conducting enquiries when his bike was in collision with a silver BMW near the Shell garage in Thomas Lewis Way on April 3.

The 35-year-old driver of the car suffered serious injuries but has since been released from hospital.

No one was arrested in connection with the accident and the Independent Police Complaints Commission was informed.

Speaking at the time of her husband’s death, Kerry said: “Since Steve’s death I have been overwhelmed by the messages of support from people we never knew.

“The generosity and kindness shown by people from all over the country has brought my family comfort during this difficult time.

“I can’t put into words how grateful I am.

“The money raised will really help my children, which is of great relief to me.”