MYSTERY surrounds why a former police officer lost control of his motorcycle in a crash on a Hampshire road, an inquest heard.

Michael Smith died after colliding with a Volkswagen Golf and a Volkswagen Polo on Milford Road, between Lymington and Everton, Winchester Coroner’s Court heard.

The court heard how Mr Smith, an experienced motorbike rider, was travelling eastwards along the A337 on his Honda bike when he drifted wide on a bend.

Mr Smith, of Heath Cottage, Portsmore, was rushed to Southampton General Hospital after the crash, which happened at about 4.45pm on September 19, last year.

The 73-year-old spent two weeks in intensive care before he died on October 4.

Mr Smith was a tireless supporter of the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal and helped raise almost £140,000 for servicemen, veterans and their families.

He was chairman of the Lymington branch of the Royal British Legion and the chief Poppy Appeal fundraiser in the area.

Professor James Nicoll said it was unclear whether Mr Smith had fallen from bike and then had a cardiac arrest, or whether he had suffered an episode while moving which caused him to fall.

“If the heart was beating abnormally he may have effectively blacked out or become unconscious,” he said.

He added that Mr Smith’s heart stopping was likely to have caused his subsequent brain and kidney damage.

He gave a cause of death as a combination of brain, spinal and kidney damage due to a road traffic collision with cardio-respiratory arrest.

Daniel Pitcher, who was driving the Golf, said: “I thought to myself, ‘He is coming through the windscreen’. I was showered with glass.”

Timothy Hayward, the driver of the Polo and a motorcyclist for 40 years, said he thought Mr Smith was in the correct position on the bend but that he sat the bike up to control the corner which affected his direction dramatically.

He added that passers-by gave CPR until paramedics arrived.

Central Hampshire coroner Grahame Short said the reason why Mr Smith lost control was unclear.

He recorded a conclusion of accidental death.

At the time of the incident, Mr Smith’s family said in a statement: “Upon retirement he continued to serve the community through volunteering for St John Ambulance and also organised the Lymington Poppy Appeal for many


“He is survived by his wife, three children and four grandchildren, who will sorely miss his guidance and sense of humour.”