A CORONER has issued a last-ditch plea for justice for hit-and-run victim Adam O’Toole.
Roger Whittaker said the only way Adam’s loved ones could move on was if the car and its killer driver were found.
The Huddersfield coroner was speaking as he recorded a verdict of unlawful killing at the end of an inquest into the 18-year-old’s death.
Mr Whittaker said: “The only possible closure the family may be able to achieve is if this vehicle is found, and if anybody knows anything about this vehicle – and someone must – they should get in touch with West Yorkshire Police as soon as possible.”
Adam, who lived at Woodhead Road, Holmbridge, died after he was mown down as he crossed New Hey Road at Salendine Nook at about 10.30am on March 6 last year.
Witness Lisa Lipson told the court she was travelling along the road towards the M62 when a speeding car pulled in front of her.
She said: “I remember thinking ‘that car is driving too fast’ – at least 60mph, if not more.
“I remember seeing a boy crossing the road.
“Something went through my mind thinking ‘That car’s going too fast’. ”
She saw Adam being hit and added: “I saw him catapulted like a ragdoll.
“I had never seen anything like it and I was looking round thinking ‘did anyone else see that?’ because it was surreal.”
Adam, a Huddersfield New College student, was taken to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary but died from multiple injuries.
Crash investigators estimated the speed of the car at the time of impact at 50mph, in the 30mph zone.
After examining shards of glass and plastic that were found at the scene they determined the car was a blue Rover 200, made between 1995 and 1999.
The driver was described as a white man in his 20s, with a thin face, prominent nose and long, dark brown unkempt hair.
Despite repeated appeals for information during the last 16 months, the investigation has drawn a blank.
Asked by Mr Whittaker if tracing the car was the only hope, crash investigator Pc Russell Windross said: “Unfortunately, it is.”
Adam’s mother, Beverley, wept as the verdict was read out.
After the inquest she gave a statement in which she thanked the coroner’s office and police.
She added: “No verdict will bring Adam back, but the police need everyone’s help to bring justice for Adam, so please look among your community for the information they need.”
Det Sgt Nigel Gittens, who is leading the police investigation, said they were continuing the fight for justice.
He said: “We remain determined to find the driver of the car that struck Adam.
“Since the start of this investigation we have had a strong response from the public and spoken to a number of witnesses and will not stop until we find this man, who left him to die by the roadside.
“I would again appeal to him to think of Adam's family and come forward.”