Relation of Queen and daughter die in horror crash on holiday

The details were revealed at Crawley Coroner's Court
The details were revealed at Crawley Coroner's Court
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A relative of the Queen and her 12-year-old daughter were killed in a horrific head-on car crash while on holiday in South Africa, a court heard today.

Louise Sword, 53, and Tabitha, 12, were returning from a family safari trip when a Mercedes C200 crashed head-on into their Toyota Fortuna SUV, the hearing was told.

Louise and her daughter were killed while her husband and their younger son were also hurt in the horror smash near Durban in August last year, the inquest heard.

Louise's brother Tim Taylor, 55, is married to the Queen's cousin Lady Helen Taylor who is 43rd in line to the throne.

The 60-year-old woman driving the Mercedes driver had swerved to the other side of the carriageway and hit them head-on at around 2.30pm on August 10, 2018, Crawley Coroner's Court heard today.

She took "evasive last minute action, "clipped the Hyundai and crashed into the Sword family who were travelling on the other side of the road.

The driver had failed to realise until the last minute that the Hyundai in front of her had suffered a blown out tyre and slowed or stopped, the inquest was told.

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The Mercedes driver and Tabitha, who was sat in the back of the Toyota, died at the scene near Zinkwazi, a small town almost an hour's drive along the Dolphin Coast from Durban.

Tabitha died of multiple lung injuries sustained fin the crash, the inquest heard.

Louise, of Lurgashall, West Sussex, was airlifted to hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.

Her injuries suggested she had been wearing a seatbelt, the inquest heard.

Coroner Penelope Schofield concluded they died as a result of a road traffic accident.

She said: "Sadly in August 10, 2018, it appears they were involved in a head on collision with another vehicle.

"The Mercedes did not notice that the Hyundai was slowing down or had come to a stop and as a result took evasive last minute action.

"Both Louise Sword and Tabitha Sword sufferer substantial injuries as a result of this crash and as we have heard Tabitha sadly died at the scene and her mother Louise was airlifted to hospital and found deceased on arrival."

Louise's husband Alistair and their son Benjamin were both cut free from the crushed SUV.

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They were airlifted to a Durban hospital in a critical but stable condition on August 10.

The inquest heard both the Sword family's Toyota and the Mercedes were in good condition prior to the crash.

The right rear tyre of the Hyundai was damaged due to the blow out - but it was not the cause of the crash, the inquest heard.

The driver had failed to put on the hazard lights or move to the left hand side of the lane, the hearing was told.

Coroner Penelope Schofield gave her "sincere condolences" and described the circumstances surrounding their deaths as "very tragic."

She added: "This was a family on holiday, a summer holiday in August and the events that transpired were clearly very tragic.

"It has not only been the loss of a mother but a sister leaving Mr Sword and a younger brother as survivors of this crash so I would like to repeat my sincere condolences for their loss."

No relatives were present at today's hearing in Crawley.

Lady Helen is the daughter of Prince Edward and Katharine, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, and a great-granddaughter of King George V.