Footballer Jlloyd Samuel was too badly burnt in car crash to ID, inquest hears after fake death claim

Footballer Jlloyd Samuel was so badly burnt in a car crash that he could not be visually identified, an inquest has heard following his sister's claim that his death was faked.

The former Aston Villa and Bolton star died after his Range Rover burst into flames following a collision with a delivery vehicle in May last year, a coroner was told.

Samuel's sister Leslie-Ann has said she believes her brother was not at the wheel of the car when it crashed in High Legh, Cheshire, and that he is still alive.

In a series of social media posts, she has claimed the family have not been allowed to carry out their own DNA tests and said of her brother: "We know you are still out there."

However, Warrington Coroner's Court heard on Tuesday that there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding Samuel's death and no suggestion of any "foul play".

The 37-year-old - who represented England at under-18, under-20 and under-21 level - had dropped his children off at school shortly before the crash.

His white car had strayed on to the wrong side of the road before the collision and was then thrown into the air by the impact, the two-day inquest heard.

The driver of the other vehicle, Frederick Dare, told the court he tried his best to swerve out of the way of Samuel's car when the crash happened on the morning of 15 May last year.

Holding back tears, he told the footballer's family: "I'm just sorry."

Toxicologist Nicola Martin said that samples of the ex-player's blood indicated that it was over the drink-drive limit - but added the caveat that the body can sometimes produce alcohol after death.

The incident happened a short distance behind cyclist Neil McCabe, who described the sound of the crash as "the loudest thing I have heard".

He said that he approached Samuel's car, telling the court: "Looking in, I could see that it was practically black and I could see flames from where the driver's lap would have been."

Dr John Sellar, a forensic odontologist, told the court he was satisfied that teeth from the dead body matched a dental chart and radiographs taken from Samuel's mouth prior to the crash.

Dr Sellar said visual identification of the body was not possible as it had been "extensively burnt", adding: "People who know the victim would not have wished to have seen those images."

Meanwhile, forensic biologist Alexandra Clark told the coroner that a blood sample taken post-mortem matched that of cellular material taken from the footballer's hairbrush and clippers.

Afterwards, coroner Alan Moore said: "After careful consideration of the evidence, I find that in this case, and for the purposes of the inquest, the remains were those of Jlloyd Tafari Samuel."

Samuel's sister Leslie Ann responded by saying she would now seek a court order to allow her to privately test DNA taken from the body.

The court heard that the footballer's next of kin, his wife Emma, had insisted his DNA samples would only be released if his sister could guarantee they are taken to a UK-registered laboratory.

Dr Jonathan Medcalf, a pathologist, gave the cause of death as "head and neck injuries".

He was asked by Ms Samuel whether her brother's right arm had been missing at the time of death, saying that it was not present when she saw the body.

Dr Medcalf responded: "Well, that was not how the body was left and we have the photographs to prove it."

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Beauchamp told the court he looked into the potential for foul play or kidnapping in the death but said he found no evidence of either.

The inquest continues.