POLICE investigating a crash that claimed the life of a theatre manager are urging two potentially vital witnesses to come forward.

The four-vehicle accident was a series of collisions that happened on the A693 Stanley to Chester-le-Street road at Beamish in County Durham shortly before midday on Saturday, February 9.

The driver of a Suzuki Swift involved in the crash, 45-year-old Ian Brown, who lived in Stanley, died in the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle early on the following Thursday, Februray 14.

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Mr Brown, who worked as a duty manager at the Empire Theatre in Consett, suffered multiple injuries in the accident and had to be airlifted to hospital.

The other cars involved were a Mercedes Sprinter, a Nissan Navara and a Renault Megane. The occupants all escaped serious injury.

Police officers investigating the crash have taken statements from a number of witnesses and their enquiries so far suggest there may be at least two other drivers who were on that stretch of road and may have seen the series of collisions.

They are hoping to trace what is thought to be the male driver of a small blue car, possibly a hatchback, which was heading east, from Stanley towards Chester-le-Street, and was travelling behind the Mercedes Sprinter.

The car turned round and drove away from the area after the incident but police are keen to stress the driver is not suspected to have played any part in what happened.

The occupants of a second vehicle, a silver car similar to a Citroen Berlingo, are also being sought. This car was heading in the opposite direction, going west in the direction of Stanley.

Sergeant Jon Curtis, the investigating offricer, said: "We are hoping these two drivers will contact us so we can establish what they saw, if anything.

“I want to stress we are seeking them purely as potential witnesses who could help the investigation."

Anyone with information is asked to contact the force's collision investigation unit on 0191-375 2159.