Cambridge student killed by doctor who smashed into her broken down car on motorway

Cambridge University student Rebecca Chamberlin who was killed on the M40
Cambridge University student Rebecca Chamberlin who was killed on the M40
Cambridge University student Rebecca Chamberlin who was killed on the M40
Cambridge University student Rebecca Chamberlin who was killed on the M40

A Cambridge student died after a doctor crashed into her broken-down vehicle on a motorway, an inquest heard.

Rebecca Chamberlin, 21, was killed after Dr Ian Treaseden smashed into the back of her yellow Ford Ka which had spluttered to a halt on a busy carriageway of the M40 near Beaconsfield, Bucks.

The third year English student – known to friends as Becky – was sitting in the rear passenger seat when Dr Treaseden’s grey Honda Accord ploughed into her stationary car.

Talented Rebecca was travelling to a boat camp with three friends from Clare College Boat Club when the in the second lane of the motorway.

Moments later Dr Treaseden smashed into her as he overtook two lorries.

Rebecca, who had coxed for the senior men’s crew, was airlifted to John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford but tragically died the following day from multiple injuries.

During the inquest at Beaconsfield Coroner’s Court on Monday Coroner Richard Hulett recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Fellow passenger Esther Momcilovic told the inquest three other vehicles avoided hitting the Ka on April 19.

She said: “The longer I sat there, the more I realised it wasn’t whether we were going to be hit, it was when.”

Dr Ian Treaseden was overtaking two HGVs when he saw the Ford Ka in front of him.

Despite desperately trying to stop he was unable to react quickly enough and smashed into the rear of the vehicle.

The inquest heard the collision occurred, around midday, on a stretch of the motorway that curves away to the left, and this, combined with the two lorries, is believed to have obstructed Dr Treaseden’s view.

Collision investigator PC James Henderson said Dr Treaseden would have had one and a half seconds to react.

He told the inquest Dr Treaseden was travelling at around 53-56mph 500 metres prior to the collision.

Dr Treaseden and the two lorry drivers he passed were unable to agree if the Ka had its hazard warning lights switched on, but PC Henderson said the evidence suggested they were.

Becky, from Stockport, Greater Manchester, leaves behind her father David, who studied Geography at Cambridge University, and mother Fiona.

Speaking after the inquest, Rebecca’s father David said: “Fiona and I will miss Rebecca terribly, as will her two brothers, and we will never forget her or how proud we are of her.

“She gave us many reasons for pride.

“Rebecca was thoughtful, musical and artistic, serious and hard-working.

“She was on the verge of achieving a good degree at a historic Cambridge college which had accepted her on merit from her state school background and she made the most of the rich opportunities that Cambridge offers.”

At the time of the accident, Professor Tony Badger, master of Clare College, said: “Our
thoughts are with her family and and all her friends at this very sad time.

“Rebecca made a huge impression on all the teachers, staff and colleagues who knew her.

“She was an excellent student of English, who was a delight to teach and extremely popular.

“She was much-loved by her fellow students and was just a delightful and giving presence in the college community.

“We will miss her so very much, and will do all we can to support each other during the coming weeks.”


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