A gifted young woman on the cusp of a bright new career as a primary school teacher died when she lost control of her Vauxhall Corsa on a bend on the A478 near Narberth, an inquest heard yesterday, January 12.

Beca Mai Richards was a gifted scholar who had obtained 11 A* GCSEs at Ysgol y Preseli. She graduated from Cardiff University with a first-class honours degree before going on to do a PGCE at Swansea University.

The inquest heard that Beca, who loved walking, running, singing and playing the guitar, had gone into Narberth Primary School on August 20 last year to prepare for her first teaching job.

She had rung both her mother and the deputy head at the end of the day to say that she was about to leave the school.

However, shortly after she left she was involved in a collision with a cement lorry. She was taken to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff but did not survive her injuries.

The 23-year-old died on August 26, following the donation of her organs. The medical cause of death was given as traumatic brain injury and a road traffic collision.

A report by forensic collision investigator, David Stacey, concluded that Miss Richards lost control of her Vauxhall Corsa on a right-hand bend approaching the Penblewin Roundabout.

He said that marks on the road indicated that the car had spun in a clockwise direction and the rear of it had come into contact with the cement lorry before it was pushed in an anti-clockwise direction and came to rest on the grass verge.

He said that there were no problems with the road surface, weather conditions or with either vehicle, and no evidence to suggest that Miss Richards had lost control of the Corsa prior to the bend.

Neither driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs or using a mobile phone, and there was no evidence of a medical emergency.

“It would appear that for reasons unknown Beca lost control of the vehicle, the resulting loss of control took her into the opposite carriageway,” he said. “The vehicle started to rotate before it impacted with the front of the HGV.”

He said it was not possible to give exact speeds, but that both vehicles were travelling within the 50mph speed limit. He added that, due to the speed, it would not have been possible for either driver to take action to avoid the accident.

He added that couldn’t rule out the possibility that a pair of sandals seen in Miss Richards’ car, may have become impeded [in the vehicle’s pedals] resulting in the loss of control, but could not give that as a definite cause of the crash.

Pembrokeshire coroner, Paul Bennett, said that this was "indeed a very tragic case".

“Beca was a very bright and gifted individual. This sad accident occurred only a matter of weeks after she had graduated as a teacher from Swansea University. It is equally tragic that she was not able to take up that teaching position.

“It is in any circumstances tragic when someone loses their life in a way that not wholly explainable.”

He said that the expert report concluded that there was nothing in Miss Richards’ behaviour or in the circumstances that may have contributed towards the collision.

“It is apparent there was a momentary loss of control of the vehicle which led to a collision occurring. It is sadly one of those situations where we will never know how it was, or what it was, that she ended up in collision with the HGV.”

He extended his condolences to Miss Richards’ family who had said that they were ‘devastated’ by her loss.

Why do newspapers cover inquests and how do they work?