A STUDENT who died when his car collided with two lorries on a Gwent road may have thought he was on a dual carriageway, a coroner said yesterday.

Robert Bell, 21, of Long Sutton, Somerset, died of head injuries in the crash on the A4042 between the Hardwick roundabout at Abergavenny, and Llanellen, on September 9 last year.

Roofer Ian Forster, from Birmingham, told an inquest that Mr Bell’s car overtook his van as he approached a right hand bend heading south shortly after the Hardwick roundabout.

Mr Forster said he was travelling at about 45mph, Mr Bell was not travelling much faster, and it had been a “gentle overtake.”

“I slowed down to let him pull in front of me but he went into the bend still on the wrong side of the road,” said Mr Forster, who described Mr Bell’s car hitting an oncoming lorry which slewed across the road and hit his van.

Lorry driver Mark Willett said he was heading north at 30-35mph and suddenly saw Mr Bell’s Ford Fiesta ahead. Because of the bend and the hedges, visibility was restricted.

Mr Bell’s car hit both Mr Willett’s lorry and the back of another lorry heading south, that Mr Willett was passing at the time, but it was impossible to determine which collision happened first.

Mr Bell was travelling to Cardiff having spent time with his father in Cheshire. His usual route was closed by an accident, and he was on an unfamilar diversion. There was no evidence of mobile phone use and a post mortem examination showed no alcohol or drugs in his system.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Ms James said most of Mr Bell’s route was on motorways and dual carriageways, and she could not rule out the chance he thought he was still on one.