Hospital consultant died on bike test run after pulling 115mph wheelieHeart expert Dr Andrew Richardson took a BMW S1000 RR super-bike out for a test run from a garage in north OxfordDr Richardson, who worked at Southampton General Hospital, Hants., texted his brother claiming to have 'pulled a wheelie at 115mph'BMW garage raised alarm when he didn't return from his test driveThe doctor was found in a ditch in Stonesfield by police at 5am the next day
18:08 GMT, 8 December 2012
A leading hospital consultant was killed as he test-drove a top-of-the-range super-bike after boasting he had pulled a wheelie at 115mph, an inquest has heard.
Heart expert Dr Andrew Richardson had taken the BMW S1000 RR out of a spin but died when he lost control on a double bend and was hurled into a ditch.
Before his death the consultant cardiac anaesthetist sent a message from his phone claiming 'this bloody thing has just pulled a wheelie at 115mph in sixth gear on a country road.'
Super-bike: Shortly before he died, Dr Andrew Richardson sent a text message to his brother claiming to have 'pulled a wheelie at 155mph' while test riding a BMW S1000 RR motorbike, pictured
Salesmen at the BMW garage raised the alarm after Dr Richardson failed to return the superbike, which retails at more than 12,000, to them after he took it for a test drive.
Police then searched through the night for the missing father-of-three before they discovered his body lying in a ditch at the side of the 50mph road.
The red, white and blue motorcycle had barely been damaged despite being thrown over a nearby hedge in the impact of the crash.
An inquest into the 39-year-old’s death heard how he had only passed his motorcycle test in November 2011, when he bought his first bike – a Triumph Speed Triple.
Earlier this year Dr Richardson test drove the BMW, which was originally built to compete in the 2009 superbike championships and has a top speed of 185mph.
'He kitted himself out with the best available motorcycle clothing and crash helmet, this was in his meticulous nature – to be the best and have the best,' said Dr Richardson’s brother Matthew, in a statement read at the inquest.
'Four months after buying the bike he had a test drive of the BMW S1000. He considered it to be the best bike around. His opinion was that if he could ride this bike he could ride anything.'
On June 23, Dr Richardson booked another test ride at a BMW garage in north Oxford. He left his Triumph at the garage and set off on the BMW at 1pm for a two-hour ride but worried salesmen called police when he had not returned by 5pm.
His body was found more than 12 hours later, at 5.20am by police officers combing the B4437 Woodstock Road, Stonesfield, Oxfordshire, around nine miles from the garage.
Successful: Dr Richardson worked as a consultant cardiac anaesthetist at Southampton General Hospital University NHS Trust
The bike was found leaned against a hedge around 40 yards away with its back light and registration plate missing.
Police analysis of his phone revealed that Dr Richardson had sent the Whatsapp message from his mobile at 2.30pm, placing his time of death between that moment and 3pm when the bike had been due back.
A post mortem examination revealed that Dr Richardson, who worked at Southampton General Hospital, Hants., had died from multiple injuries.
Collision investigator Terry Anderson told the hearing in Oxford that he believed Dr Richardson had been going too quickly to negotiate the double road bend.
He said that there was no evidence to suggest that another vehicle had been involved.
Mr Anderson said that he did not know how fast Dr Richardson had been travelling and that the 115mph claim could not be confirmed.
'Whilst this can’t be verified, it gives an indication as the speed is very specific, and nowhere near the 185mph the bike was capable of,' he said.
'It’s highly likely the rider entered the bend too fast for his ability and was carrying too much speed to negotiate the second bend.'
He told the hearing that he believed the bike had bounced off Dr Richardson, causing his chest injuries, before coming to rest.
He said it appeared that Dr Richardson had been trying to slow down as he came to the second bend.
Matthew Richardson told the hearing that there was an anti-wheelie mechanism on the bike, which meant that it could not perform the trick in sixth gear, and that his brother could have exaggerated in his message.
'It might be there was an element of exaggeration in that type of message,' said Oxfordshire Coroner Darren Salter.
'It’s something that anyone would say for effect, as to the actual speed at the time there isn’t any physical evidence but we do know he lost control.'
Mr Salter recorded that the death of Dr Richardson, of Winchester Road, Romsey, Hants., had been an accident.
'We know the message sent at 14.30pm indicated excessive speed but I think perhaps it would be dangerous to read too much into that,” he said.
'I think however the fact he did lose control of the motorcycle at the location does suggest too much speed.'