Inquest opens into death of dad-to-be Aaron Morris who died after ambulance delays

A young widow tried to call her husband to say there had been a crash on her route home before realising he was the casualty involved, an inquest has heard.

Aaron Morris was just 31 when he died after his off-road Honda motorcycle was involved in a collision with a car in Esh Winning on July 1, 2022 - his pregnant wife’s birthday.

Today, Durham and Darlington Coroners Court heard how his wife, Samantha Morris, had been on her way home from an overnight hospital stay before the couple headed to the Lake District for a final holiday ahead of the arrival of the twins they had recently found out they were expecting.

But as trainee nurse Samantha reached the junction between Priestburn Close and Newhouse Road she became one of the first people on the scene of a crash, where she discovered her husband lying injured in the road.

Samantha, from Ushaw Moor, said: “I saw the accident so I went to ring Aaron to say I need to stop to see if they need a hand. I looked again and realised it was Aaron.”

The 29-year-old told the inquest that Aaron was lying on his front and had been asking for someone to get his wife “because she’ll know what to do”. She added that Aaron had been struggling to breathe and her mum, who came to the crash site, had ran to the nearest doctors surgery to get oxygen to help Aaron.

However, his condition deteriorated and Aaron suffered a cardiac arrest in the back of an ambulance en route to hospital. He was pronounced dead at University Hospital of North Durham.

ChronicleLive previously reported how North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) apologised after an internal investigation revealed there was a "series of errors and system failures" which led to Aaron’s death. Today Senior Assistant Coroner, Crispin Oliver, ruled that the inquest will be held in two parts, with evidence from medical staff being heard at a later date, after it was decided to hear evidence from the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAS).

Speaking about the moments leading up to the collision Samantha explained that Aaron had been to collect his motorcycle from the mechanics that morning as it had been in the garage for repair. However, he only decided to collect it as Samantha was delayed at the hospital. She added that it was only the third time he had been on the bike.

Samantha told the inquest: “If I hadn’t been in hospital the night before we would have been on our way to the Lakes and he wouldn’t have been on his bike.”

The inquest also heard from Collision investigator, PC Jason Coverdale, who said that post-collision inspections found no fault with the bike. They also concluded that although investigations were unable to determine what speed Aaron was travelling at the time of the collision “it can’t have been high speed because there wasn’t a lot of damage to the car or bike”.

The inquest continues.