RELATIVES of a Colne Valley man who died in 2000 have had an agonising wait for a cause of death, an inquest heard.
Father-of-two Richard Duffy, 55, died when his car was in a head-on collision with another near Cape Town, South Africa, on August 4, 2000.
But delays in reports from police and doctors in South Africa meant his family had to wait for a final decision on whose fault the crash had been.
At a Huddersfield inquest yesterday coroner Roger Whittaker blamed the South African authorities for the long wait. He also said much of the information that had been supplied was unhelpful.
Mr Duffy, of Gatehead Bank, Marsden, was on holiday with his partner, Rachel Pilsworth.
The pair hired a VW car and were driving towards Cape Town when an Opel Corsa veered across on to the wrong side of the road, hitting Mr Duffy's car. Two people in the Corsa were also killed.
Mr Duffy's son and daughter were both teenagers when he died.
Mr Whittaker read out a statement by Miss Pilsworth. In it, she said she recalled little about the accident.
Reports failed to give a reason why the Opel driver lost control of the car. But at the time there were claims that a truck behind had hit it.
However, analysis of both vehicles proved inconclusive.
Mr Duffy, who owned a Bradford-based office furniture business, died instantly from spinal injuries.
Mr Whittaker recorded a verdict of accidental death. He said he was willing to believe the truck did hit the Opel because there was no other reason why the driver would have swerved.
He added: "The evidence leads me to believe the conclusion that Mr Duffy was driving a hire car and doing so perfectly competently.
"When he was confronted with a vehicle that had veered on to his side of the road there was a collision. Sadly he died, as did the driver and passenger in the other car.
"This was a tragic accident."