‘Free spirit’ teenager killed in motorbike crash ‘had heart of gold’

A teenager described as a ‘free spirit with a heart of gold’ was killed aged 18 in a tragic motorbike crash, an inquest was told.

Builder Liam Houghton, from Rock Ferry, suffered ‘catastrophic injuries’ in the collision on New Chester Road in Wirral. His family said that their ‘jigsaw would always be missing a piece’ after the death of the much-loved uncle.

An inquest into his death at Gerard Majella Courthouse today, Monday, heard that the teen was riding a blue Yamaha motorcycle with a pillion passenger along the main road at around 7.15pm on March 19. The former cadet then collided with the rear door of a silver Mercedes car which was turning right out of the car park of the Court Nursing Home, by the junction with Woodward Road.

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Both Mr Houghton and his passenger were ‘propelled’ over the roof of the other vehicle – which was being driven by a member of staff who was heading home after his shift in the care home – and landed in the opposite carriageway. ‘Significant damage’ was caused to both the car and the bike, while the teen was rushed to Arrowe Park Hospital after being critically injured.

He was pronounced dead shortly before 1.30am the following day. The route remained closed for several hours afterwards while Merseyside Police carried out investigation work.

Analysis of CCTV footage from the nearby Black Lions Guest House found that Mr Houghton was travelling at between 87mph and 112mph in a 30mph zone around 110m away from the scene of the accident. He applied his brakes and decelerated to roughly 50mph in the three seconds before the point of impact.

Dry conditions were reported at the time of the incident at dusk, while the Mercedes driver passed a breathalyser test at the scene and no prior defects were found to either vehicle. Toxicology tests detected an amount of cannabis in Mr Houghton’s system and ‘suggested he had used cannabis within a few hours of the incident’, although it is unclear exactly when he had taken the drug.

Senior coroner Andre Rebello concluded that Mr Houghton died of multiple injuries as a result of a road traffic collision. Recording his verdict, he said: “The significant factor is the speed. That’s why this is a road traffic collision that caused Liam’s death.

“Liam and his life are very much still with you. It really is important that those 18 years are stored up forever and that Liam’s life makes a difference, even now.

“The moment of his death was an instant. That should never spoil one moment of his life.

“Please celebrate his life and remember him. Make sure that you store up those happy, loving memories and that his life always overshadows the tragedy of his death.”

Mr Houghton’s devastated mum and dad were in attendance during the inquest.

A statement released by the family at the time of his passing read: “Liam was a free spirit, he had a heart of gold and he’d go out of his way to help others. He’ll be missed by so many.

“Life will never be the same again – our jigsaw will always be missing a piece. A much-loved son, brother, uncle, grandson and friend has been taken from us far too soon.

“The house feels so quiet and empty without you here with us.”

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