9:28am Friday 16th May 2014
By Standard reporter
ROCK guitarist Pete Gentil, 52, was killed when his motorbike hit a deer sending him into the path of an oncoming car, an inquest heard yesterday (Thursday).
His wife Sarah, who was riding her motorbike just behind him, told how she came on the scene of the tragedy seconds later.
Gloucestershire assistant coroner Katie Skerrett recorded an accidental death verdict on Mr Gentil, from Watermoor in Cirencester, who was bass guitarist with the rock band Dealer.
Mr Gentil and his wife had gone out for a ride on their motorbikes on the afternoon of September 14 last year and were on the B4425 at Ampney Coln, between Bibury and Barnsley when the accident happened.
Shorty before the collision Mr Gentil and his wife had overtaken two cars but although some witnesses said the bikes were going very fast the coroner said there was no evidence that speed played a part in what happened.
Collision investigator Pc Phil Reese said the accident happened as Mr Gentil was going round a sweeping right hand bend.
He said it would have been impossible for Mr Gentil to stop in time to avoid hitting the deer if he was doing anything more than 45mph and even then only if his headlights had been on full beam.
Pc Reese said after falling from his Aprilla motorcycle Mr Gentil skidded along the road and into the path of an oncoming BMW X1 car driven by Mrs Fengjie Chow of Cirencester.
He died from multiple injuries. There was no trace of alcohol or drugs in his system.
Mrs Chow said in a statement that she was doing about 45-50mph when she saw the motorcycle lights in the distance. She saw the lights 'move together or across' and then realised that there was a motorcycle sliding along the road in front of her.
It happened very fast and she panicked, she said.
Witness Luke Demarco said in a statement that when he reached the scene he saw a motorcycle in the verge and someone lying in the road in front of the BMW car. He also saw a dead deer in the road.
Another motorist, Christine Harling , stated that she was overtaken by the two motorbikes in an 'uneventful' way.
Mr Gentil's wife stayed outside the courtroom for the hearing and only attended to hear the coroner's decision.
In a statement Mrs Gentil said they were both very experienced bikers and he had been riding since he was a teenager.
They were riding back home and she was some way behind him when she rounded the bend and saw what had happened.
The coroner concluded it had been a tragic accident.
"It was the tragic unexpected appearance of the deer that caused him to lose control," Mrs Skerrett said. "He would not have been able to stop safely in time."
Mr Gentil's band Dealer released their first single, Better Things to Do in 1983 and over the years have put out six albums, supporting acts like Motorhead and Gary Moore.
After breaking up in the mid-80s the group got back together in 2010 for a reunion concert.
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