DUI Crash kills musician

Source: This is Trafford
Date: December 6, 2000

A TALENTED Urmston musician was killed in a collision after drinking in a pub despite a barman's efforts to stop her driving, an inquest heard.

The inquest heard how Melanie Mitchell, 47, of Grosvenor Road, was found lying outside the Mersey Farm pub-restaurant on Carrington Lane, Sale, by a member of staff, Joanne Ruddock.

She said she went inside and told the assistant manager, Hughie Mulhall, what she had seen. He went outside and realised that it was a woman whom they had served at the bar.

He checked that she was breathing and put her in the recovery position, at which point she woke up. He said she had a cut on her nose and he thought she must have fallen over.

She told him she just wanted to sleep, but she got up when he said they would have to call the police. She then went towards her car.

Mr Mulhall said: "I tried to persuade her that she wasn't fit to drive her car. I knew she had been drinking and I was concerned that she had concussion."

He said she took no notice of him and drove off in her Toyota MR2.

Taxi driver Ian Talbot was driving down Carrington Lane towards Sale when he came to a right hand bend.

As he went round the bend, he was confronted by a sports car travelling in the opposite direction on his side of the road.

He said he braked but he had little time to do anything. The oncoming car tried to steer away from him but the collision could not be avoided.

Mr Talbot lost consciousness and was later treated for minor injuries.

Pathologist Dr Mohammed Sheikh said Miss Mitchell died from multiple injuries, the most serious being to her head and chest. He said her blood alcohol level was equivalent to having drunk at least nine pints of beer.

Miss Mitchell's partner, Frances Collett, described her as a very talented person, who trained as an opera singer at the Royal Northern College of Music.

She worked for the Scottish Opera Company for a number of years. She also played several instruments and wrote a lot of her own music.

Deputy coroner Jennifer Leeming recorded a verdict of accidental death.