An inquest was opened today (fri) into a tragic young couple who were found dead in a car on Monday morning.
Essex coroners’ court heard that Nikki Willis, 23, and Tom Putt, 20, were found unresponsive in his Ford Fiesta car outside her home in Chelmsford, Essex.
Opening the inquest, coroner’s officer David Dinnell said: “On the morning of December 5 Nikki Willis and Tom Putt were both found in responsive in a vehicle.
“Paramedics arrived and confirmed that they had both passed away. Police attended and all protocols were followed.”
The pair were later taken to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, Essex, by ambulance.
Pathologist Dr Ben Swift carried out a post mortem the following day which proved inconclusive.
An exact cause of death is awaiting toxicology and histology reports on their bodies.
It is believed the couple could have died from carbon monoxide poisoning leaking from his brand new £17,000 blue Ford Fiesta ST.
Despite the post mortems being inconclusive Essex police have advised anyone who has modifications carried out to their vehicle by someone other than a mechanic to have it checked as a safety precaution.
Detectives have said their current investigations do not indicate the deaths of the pair were the result of a deliberate act.
The Fiesta hot hatch was parked outside the home Nikki shares with her mother Michelle Hindson, 46, and stepfather Stuart Hindson, 45, in Chelmsford, Essex.
Nikki and Tom – a keen member of a motoring club and a Ford employee – had been seen chatting shortly before being found slumped in the vehicle.
Mr Howard Reed, an expert on carbon monoxide poisoning, said it would take just a short time for someone to be incapacitated by the gas.
Carbon monoxide has no smell and cannot be seen.
“Higher levels of monoxide need only a small space and time. A car is quite small so it would take a very small amount of time to fill up.
The families of of Nikki, who worked in electronics shop CeX, and Tom, an apprentice for Ford Motor Company, paid tribute to the pair who are believed to have dated for around six months.
Nikki’s family said: “Our gorgeous baby girl, daughter, stepdaughter, sister, girlfriend and friend of so many. We are so proud of you even though your time here was too short.
Man United fan Tom’s family also paid tribute to the engineering apprentice who was passionate about cars.
His family, of Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, said: “We are utterly shocked and devastated at the death of our darling son Tom.
“He was a whirlwind in our lives from day one, always cheeky, always smiling. He was maturing into a charming, kind and lovely young man.”
Area coroner for Essex Eleanor McGann adjourned the inquest until 10am on March 17 next year.