Inquest tomorrow on death of 'angel' Esther

CRASH VICTIM: Esther Walters

DRIVING: Richard Hadler

First published in New Forest

THE inquest into the death of teenage car crash victim Esther Walters will be held tomorrow, less than two weeks after the driver who killed her was spared jail.

A coroner in Southampton will give a verdict on her cause of death following the fatal crash, which happened as the popular 17-year-old was being given a lift home from working at the Sandy Balls holiday park near Fordingbridge.

Esther’s family cried out “absolute disgrace” when teenager Richard Hadler was given a suspended sentence after admitting death by careless driving at Southampton Crown Court last month.

The 19-year-old had Esther and their fellow colleague Daniel Parker in his Vauxhall Corsa when he lost control and crashed on the B3078 Southampton Road at Godshill, on June 9 last year.

But when she died the former Burgate School pupil saved four lives as her organs were donated.

The A-level student had been planning to take a course on teaching English as a second language and friends said she was planning a gap year teaching the language in India before hopefully going to Brighton University.

Esther lived in Fordingbridge with parents Tim and Yvonne and brother Jack. In floral tributes left at the crash scene following the crash, family members described Esther as an “angel”.

In court, prosecutors said Esther died at Salisbury District Hospital the day after the crash from head trauma and a fractured neck.

After the hearing her uncle, Dan Walters, told how Yvonne had endured her first Mother’s Day without her beloved daughter and said they were all “disgusted”

with the sentence.

He said Hadler had “walked away after destroying my family’s lives”. “He will do things Esther will never do now,” he added.

After the crash residents heard Hadler, of Whitsbury Road, Fordingbridge, shouting “Esther” and “What have I done”.

He was overheard by a policeman at hospital telling his father “I was doing 65 max”, but he later told police he was driving at 55 to 60mph.

Alexander Stein, in mitigation, said Hadler was “genuinely remorseful” and did not want to drive again.

Deputy circuit judge Patrick Hooton said “no sentence can bring Esther back” and gave Hadler a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years.

He was ordered to carry out 200 hours’ unpaid work and was given a supervision order as well as a five-year driving ban.

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