The widow of former footballer Jlloyd Samuel has hit out at the “relentless threats, vicious lies and outrageous conspiracy theories” that she says she has faced following her husband’s death.
The 37-year-old, who played in the Premier League, was killed when his Range Rover burst into flames after colliding with a four-tonne delivery vehicle last year, Warrington Coroner’s Court heard on Tuesday.
The former defender’s white car had strayed on to the wrong side of the road before the crash, which happened after he had dropped his children off for school, the inquest into his death was told.
It has been reported that the ex-footballer’s sister, Leslie-Ann Samuel, has claimed her sibling’s death was faked.
The Sun reported on Sunday that she believes her brother is still alive, and that he was not at the wheel of the car when it burst into flames after the crash.
But, after hearing how DNA samples from the remains matched those of Mr Samuel, and how teeth matched a dental chart and radiographs from his mouth taken before death, coroner Alan Moore said that it was the footballer’s body.
In a statement issued after the coroner had concluded that the footballer died in a road-traffic collision, his widow Emma Samuel said in a written statement: “For the past 18 months we have not only had to live with the tragic loss of my husband and the children’s father, but also endure relentless threats, vicious lies and outrageous conspiracy theories.
“I have maintained a dignified silence throughout all of this, out of respect for my husband and my children.
“But the truth will eventually win through, and I will tell my story at the appropriate time.”
The inquest heard how fire damage meant that Mr Samuel’s body was so badly disfigured that it could not be visibly identified.
Despite hearing how DNA taken from the body identified it as the football coach’s remains, Leslie-Ann Samuel told the inquest she will launch legal action in the hope of being able to commission her own private tests on the DNA.
The inquest heard how the driver of the other vehicle, Frederick Dare, attempted to swerve around Mr Samuel’s car when the crash happened on West Lane, High Legh, Cheshire, on the morning of May 15 last year.
But he was unable to move out of the way of the former Aston Villa and Bolton player’s car in time, the court was told.
The former footballer had been driving at 65mph in the 60mph zone at the time of the incident, and only attempted to move out of the way about a second and a half before the moment of impact, witnesses said.
A toxicologist said samples of the ex-player’s blood taken following his death had more alcohol in them than the legal limit.
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 Mr Samuel’s Range Rover, 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.”
Despite suggestions the death may have been a result of smoke inhalation, it was concluded that head and neck injuries were the cause.
Passing on his condolences to Mr Samuel’s family, the coroner said: “I am so sorry that we had to meet in these circumstances.”