Friends found chef and waitress dead at crash scene near Hereford

A CHEF and waitress were found dead at the scene of a car crash near Hereford by a friend who had used a mobile phone tracking app to find them, an inquest heard.

Samantha Poyner, mother of 17-year-old waitress Holly Ann Poyner, who was killed in the crash, became worried after waking up on Friday, July 24, 2020, to find that her daughter was not in her bedroom.

She had gone to meet friend and pub colleague Caleb Robert Horncastle, and Hereford Coroners Court was told by his brother on Wednesday, May 19 that the pair often met up to drive around the city.

Nikita Hemming, Holly’s best friend, was contacted by Mrs Poyner on the morning of July 24 to see if she knew where her daughter was, but she did not. That is when a phone tracking app showed Miss Poyner’s phone was in a field off the Dormington to Mordiford road at Clay Hill Pit.

Miss Hemming, along with another friend and her mother, went to scene shortly after 9am that morning.

There, Miss Hemming, who had known Miss Poyner since she was five, saw a car had crashed into a tree and she phoned the emergency services.

Hereford Times: Tributes to the pair were left at the scene after the crash in July 2020. Picture: Rob Davies Tributes to the pair were left at the scene after the crash in July 2020. Picture: Rob Davies

She saw a male, later known to be 23-year-old chef Mr Horncastle, and Miss Poyner at the scene.

Paramedics and a doctor, who were at the scene shortly after 10.30am, said neither victim had a pulse.

Mr Horncastle did have part of his hand and arm in a cast at the time of the fatal crash, but his brother Daniel, who shared his love of cars, said he did not believe it affected his driving.

Blood tests carried out in the days after the crash showed neither the driver or passenger of the Mini Cooper had taken drugs, with only a negligible amount of alcohol found.

Giving evidence at the hearing, Mrs Poyner said her daughter was bubbly, happy and clever, and she loved working at the Cock of Tupsley in Ledbury Road, Hereford, where she had met Mr Horncastle.

Hereford Times: Holly Poyner, 17, was one of the crash victims. Picture: Rob Davies Holly Poyner, 17, was one of the crash victims. Picture: Rob Davies

She said the pair were friends, and her daughter felt she could talk openly with him.

Investigations by West Mercia Police found no mechanical or structural problems with the car, and accident investigator PC Howard Latham said visibility during the night would only have been affected by the darkness.

He was unable to give an accurate time for the crash, but worked out from automatic number plate recognition cameras that it would have been after 11.25pm on Thursday, July 23.

PC Latham said he had calculated the car was likely to have been going between 65 and 70 miles per hour when it hit the verge and jumped the hedge into the field.

Damage to the car’s roof on the nearside, and on the front driver’s side, suggested there had been two impacts.

Herefordshire coroner Mark Bricknell said Miss Poyner, of Oak Road, Credenhill, died of multiple head injuries.

He said Mr Horncastle, who lived at the Cock of Tupsley, died of multiple head injuries. Neither victim’s injuries were survivable, he said.

He recorded the causes of death as a road traffic collision.

Hereford Times