A STRATTON signwriter had a dangerous mix of cocaine and alcohol in his system when he was thrown from his motorcycle last September, an inquest heard.

Matthew Doyle, who had suffered from depression, told a friend earlier that evening he had been riding his Kawasaki ZX 600CC bike at 215mph along Drakes Way.

A police crash investigator said it would not have been possible to get the motorcycle to that speed.

But PC Neil Hannis told the inquest it was likely 38-year-old Matthew had been speeding when he came off his bike at Transfer Bridges Roundabout on Sunday, September 2, last year.

Nicholas Rheinberg, HM assistant coroner, recorded a conclusion of death as a result of a road traffic collision.

Matthew had braked hard as he crossed the roundabout and on to Cirencester Way. The front wheel had locked and struck the kerb, eventually throwing Matthew from his bike and sending him skidding into a traffic light pole. He suffered significant head injuries and died at the scene.

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An inquest into his death heard Matthew had struggled with mental ill health in the months leading up to his motorcycle crash. Nikki Doyle described her husband as troubled: “He was very low - depressed, probably.”

But both Mrs Doyle and Matthew’s father, Arthur, stressed he would never have taken his own life.

Matthew had seen friend Jamie Fisher at The Dolphin pub, Rodbourne, a few hours before he died. The pair had planned watch Tottenham Hotspur’s Premier League clash against Watford FC on the pub’s TV.

But Mr Fisher said his friend had been agitated, annoyed and had claimed he had been riding at 215mph down Drakes Way. “I have honestly not seen him so low before,” Mr Fisher said in a statement. He did not finish his pint and drove off at some speed on his lime green motorcycle.

Matthew was next seen around three hours later shortly before 10pm by Ian Gough as he left a Queen tribute concert at the Wyvern Theatre. Mr Gough estimated Matthew’s motorcycle was travelling at around 70mph northbound along Princes Street.

Motorcyclist Andrew Howells described Matthew riding his bike close behind him along Bridge End Road, before overtaking him and several other cars. Driver Thomas Hawkins also told the inquest he was overtaken by Matthew along Great Western Way.

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At around 10.22pm Matthew was thought to have crashed his motorcycle as he turned off the Transfer Bridges roundabout on to Cirencester Way. PC Neil Hannis said skid marks on the road showed he had tried to brake. Scratches had been left in the side of the kerb, where it had been struck by the metal wheel.

Swindon Advertiser: The scene of the crash at Transfer Bridges roundaboutThe scene of the crash at Transfer Bridges roundabout

Toxicology reports showed Matthew tested over the limit for alcohol and cocaine. His blood also contained a substance called cocaethylene, a chemical produced when the alcohol and cocaine mix in the body.

PC Hannis said Matthew had either misjudged the bend at the roundabout or had been riding too fast.

In his concluding remarks, Mr Rheinberg said it was “sheer bad luck” Matthew had hit the traffic light pole, resulting in significant head injuries: “I think in other circumstances Matthew might not have come to any more harm than a few scratches or bruising.”

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He stressed that although Matthew had been suffering from depression, the crash was accidental.

“Both his wife and father were adamant that Matthew was not suicidal and the evidence of breaking demonstrates Matthew was seeking to avoid disaster not cause disaster,” he said.

Offering his condolences to Matthew’s family, the assistant coroner added: “I’m so sorry I meet you in these horrible circumstances.”