Stag party death as bridegroom knocked down by coach
A STAG-party ended in tragedy when the bridegroom-to-be was knocked down and killed by a coach in the early hours of the morning.
Matthew Cottrell suffered severe head injuries in the impact with the cream coloured coach and was certified dead at the scene of the collision.
The 24-year-old British soldier had managed to get into into a taxi after the celebrations but only had enough money for half the journey back to base.
He was walking along the unlit A35 road in Bloxworth near Bere Regis, Dorset, when he was struck by the coach. The soldier was declared dead at the scene.
News of the tragedy had to be broken to his fiancee, who was out of the country on her own hen night, when the collision occured.
Mr Cottrell had been out with friends in Poole town centre when he hailed a taxi at the end of the night.
However, he only had enough money to get to Organford, still several miles from his destination at Bovington Camp and was dropped off in the village.
A spokesman for Dorset Police said that Mr Cottrell, who was from the Southport, Merseyside, area, was walking alone along the A35 in the early hours of Saturday when he was struck by the Volvo single-decker coach.
"Unfortunately he suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene," said the spokesman.
The narrow, unlit and tree-lined section of the A35 has a reputation as an accident blackspot.
Sergeant Dave Stroud from Dorset Police said: "This is an unlit, rural road without a pavement and in places it's subject to the national speed limit.
"It is not uncommon for people to walk back from Poole via this route and I would urge people to reconsider as they do put themselves in considerable danger."
Investigators, who had interviewed the 55-year-old Bournemouth coach driver, were appealing for anyone whos saw the 24-year-old or the coach before the collision, to contact them.
A post mortem examination was due to be carried out on the victim's body to establish the exact cause of his death and an inquest was expected to be opened by the West Dorset coroner later in the week.
An Army spokesman confirmed that Mr Cottrell was a serving soldier who had been doing some training at Bovington.
The driver of the coach was said to be shocked by what happened.
The Excelsior bus was on its way to Weymouth in Dorset to pick up passengers when the collision happened at 3am on Saturday.
"This is a very sad and tragic accident and our thoughts and condolences are with the young man's family," said Excelsior managing director Kathy Tilbury.
"We are co-operating fully with the police investigation and giving all the help and support we can to our driver who was very shocked by what happened."
One Bournemouth taxi driver, who asked not to be named, said: "As a taxi driver I often see people walking that stretch at night, usually soldiers going back to Bovington, and if I have room will pick them up, that piece of road is fast and you get lots of deer and other wildlife along the hedges.
"It's tragic that a young man whoever he is has lost his life in this way."