Student killed in road crash while out in Cambodia
A talented and popular student with a bright future ahead of him was killed in a motorcycle crash during a backpacking trip to Cambodia, an inquest has heard.
Matthew Kenneth Riley, 23, from Ketton, had wanted to visit the country for many years and decided to spend four weeks there last summer during a break from his studies at the University of Lincoln.
Tragically, just a few days before he was due to fly home, Matthew was killed in a crash in the early hours of September 12, 2015.
The inquest, held at Spalding Registration Office, was told that police reports into the crash were inconsistent, but it is believed the motorcycle Matthew was riding was involved in a collision with another motorcycle ridden by Australian William Pert, 25.
The crash is said to have occurred at around 1.40am in Kampot, south east Cambodia, where Matthew had been staying in a hostel.
Forensic pathologist Professor Guy Rutty, who performed a post-mortem examination when Matthew’s body had been returned to the UK, said his injuries were consistent with a road traffic collision.
He said: “I was provided with a very limited history prior to the examination but the injuries were consistent with a road traffic death.
“He had a fracture to the right leg and had suffered a serious head injury.”
Toxicology reports showed Matthew had not consumed any alcohol or drugs.
It is believed he was wearing a full-face helmet.
Matthew’s parents, Gess and Mick Riley, attended the inquest and said they had many unanswered questions.
The couple flew out to Cambodia after Matthew’s death, accompanied by their younger son Thomas, and were frustrated by a lack on information about the crash – specifically whether any other vehicles were involved.
They asked Professor Rutty whether it was possible Matthew had been hit by a car, rather than another motorcycle.
The pathologist said although he could not rule that out entirely, his experience with road traffic accidents led him to believe it had been a collision between two motorcycles.
Coroner Murray Spittal recorded a verdict of death by road traffic collision.
He said: “Matthew was probably riding a motorcycle at about 1.40am on September 12 on a provincial road.
“Although the details are not certain it seems likely he was in collision with another motorcycle.
“Therefore I am able to reach a conclusion his death was as a result of a road traffic collision.
“I’d like to offer my condolences to the family.”
Speaking after the hearing, Mr and Mrs Riley paid tribute to their son, who was studying psychology and marketing.
Matthew was due to graduate this summer and the University of Lincoln has offered to award his degree posthumously.
Mr Riley said: “The university has been great. A coachload of students came to Matthew’s funeral and although he hadn’t quite finished his degree, we will collect it on his behalf in September during a graduation ceremony.”
Matthew had been planning to complete the Three Peaks Challenge this year –climbing Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon, the highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales.
He had intended to raise sponsorship for Diabetes UK and Mind, in memory of his grandfather Kevin Dowling, who died eight years ago, and aunt Anne-Marie Dowling, who died three years ago.
Matthew didn’t get the chance to see his plans through, but 45 family members and friends are set to tackle the three peaks in August in his honour.
As well as Matthew’s two chosen charities, the group will also raise funds for Cambodian children’s charity CamKids.
Mrs Riley added: “Matthew had spent some of his time in Cambodia helping to teach children to swim. That was typical of him. He was a very sociable person and keen to help out where he could.
“The inequality in Cambodia is huge. There’s some very wealthy people driving around in nice cars and some extremely poor people, especially children living on the streets.”
The family are preparing sponsorship forms.