A MOTORCYCLIST who died in a crash had just got engaged and was soon to become a father.

Mark Ashdown was riding his Honda motorbike when it collided with a car before hitting a wall and tree at a crossroads in Fair Oak, an inquest heard.

Despite desperate attempts of passers-by and medics he died at the scene.

His family revealed after the hearing that the 24-year-old had got engaged two weeks before and was to become a father.

The little girl is now six months old.

An inquest heard how Mr Ashdown, of Hardings Lane, Fair Oak, had been riding northbound on July 12 last year on the B3354 Botley Road when a red Skoda, driven by Catherine Wilkinson, was turning right to get on to Eastleigh Road.

Mr Ashdown swerved to avoid the car but glanced its front.

This caused the motorcycle to hit a wall, a tree and then another vehicle, throwing Mr Ashdown from the bike.

He died from a head injury.

Giving evidence, Mrs Wilkinson, of Edington Close, Bishop’s Waltham, who was taking her daughter swimming, said she had not been aware of any traffic coming towards her.

The junction has filter lights allowing drivers to turn right on to Eastleigh Road when the straight-on lights turn red, but cars can also go when those lights are green if it is clear.

Collision investigator PC Drew McDonnell, of Hampshire police, could not determine vehicle speed.

But he said the “absolute minimum” speed of the bike would have been 26 miles an hour, which did not take into account the impact with the wall, tree and other car, suggesting he was travelling in excess of the 30mph limit.

He said it was impossible to establish when Mr Ashdown went through the lights, as witness accounts differed, or if the filter light was on when the crash happened.

Grahame Short, coroner for central and west Hampshire, said he thought Mrs Wilkinson’s car had just set off so was going slowly and it was “safe to conclude” that before the collision Mr Ashdown was speeding.

He said he judged the lights changed as Mr Ashdown crossed the stopping line and he could not stop.

He concluded a verdict of death due to a road traffic collision.

Mark, a machine operator at Coil Master in Fair Oak, planned to move to London with his fiancée just days after the crash, hoping to kick-start a career in music.

Father Peter Ashdown, of Fair Oak, said: “At the end of the day this has happened – it’s a horrible accident.”

His wife Simone added: “He was just loved by all his family and friends. It’s very sad that he never got to see his baby.

“He was the happiest he’d ever been and he had all these plans.”