Prison officer died after fall from bike

East Road in Lancaster, the scene of Mr Watson's fall.
East Road in Lancaster, the scene of Mr Watson's fall.

A cyclist died from serious head injuries after braking sharply on a hill in Lancaster, an inquest heard.

Mervyn Watson, 59, from Morecambe, was cycling home from work at Lancaster Farms Young Offenders Institute at around 5pm on February 13, when the accident happened.

Witness Robert Clow-Whitelegg said he saw the prison officer coming down East Road “quite fast” and there were no other vehicles in the area at the time.

“The bike appeared to just stop, as if it had hit a wall or barrier,” he told the inquest at Lancaster Magistrates Court.

“It flipped up and the cyclist came away from the bike and flew through the air for a distance of about 10 yards before hitting the ground.”

He also said that Mr Watson was wearing a helmet, however this broke on impact with the ground.

Pathologist Dr Al-Mudhaffer said that Mr Watson was in very good health at the time and there was no alcohol in his system. He concluded that Mr Watson fell from his bike and died due to a “significant head injury”.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, coroner Mr Simon Jones concluded: “We cannot know why he applied the brakes in this manner, but it would seem to me that this is what happened.”