Young father died when his car crashed into a lorry

A young father was killed in a horror crash as he sped to rescue his fiancée after she was attacked in a nightclub, an inquest has heard.

Geoffrey Firkins, 21, died when his Vauxhall Corsa collided with a lorry and a Peugeot 206 in the early hours of February 7 last year.

North Staffordshire Coroners Court heard heard today how minutes earlier, he had received a phone call from fiancée Katie Evans, 21, telling him she had been assaulted during a night-out with friends.

Mr Firkins, from Chell Heath, Stoke-on-Trent, was not wearing a seatbelt as he drove to collect her from nearby Hanley.

In his efforts to reach her, he overtook a Peugeot 206 and clipped the car causing his vehicle to slide into a lorry travelling in the opposite direction.

He crashed on the A53 in Cobridge, Stoke-on-Trent, and later died in hospital from multiple injuries.

Mr Firkins, a factory worker, had been with Miss Evans for three years and the couple had a son, two-and-a-half-year-old Cody-Jay together. The couple had planned to marry this year.

Speaking at his funeral, Miss Evans said: 'When I first saw Geoff I absolutely hated him and I told him so, but a week after, we fell in love.

'I found out I was pregnant not long after we had been together and on my 18th birthday, he proposed to me.

'Cody-Jay was born on August 30, 2010 and Geoff grew up and became a man and an excellent daddy to our beautiful son.

Tragedy: An inquest heard Geoffrey Firkins was not wearing a seat belt when he crashed into a lorry in Staffordshire

Tribute: Katie Evans, left, had a son Cody-Jay and was engaged to Geoff Firkins, right, before he died

'Our child is the double of Geoff and he takes after his dad when it comes to looks and attitude, because he can be so stubborn at times, just like Geoff was.

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'I will make sure he knows every little thing about you and what a good man you were.

'If I wrote down all the good times we had and all the good you did for everybody, I would be here forever.'

Mr Firkins' grandfather, also called Geoffrey Firkins, told the inquest: 'From speaking to the officers and learning about his injuries, I know that if Geoffrey had been wearing his seatbelt he would still be with us.

'I always made sure his car was road-worthy, but it seems to be the done thing among young people to not wear your seatbelt.

'It's too late for Geoffrey now, but I want to prevent this happening to someone else.'

Recording a verdict of accidental death, North Staffordshire Deputy Coroner Anthony Curzon said: 'Whether wearing a seat belt would have made a difference or not, it was a contributory factor.'

Warning: Speaking after his grandson's inquest, Geoffrey Firkin said young people should always remember to wear a seat belt