AN inquest into the death of an 18-year-old girl heard that the car she was driving was steered into oncoming traffic.

Jayden Ryder, of Ferryhill, died at the scene after her white Fiat 500 collided with an oncoming Audi A3 on the B6287 Merrington Road, between Ferryhill and Kirk Merrington.

She was travelling with her partner, Ryan Wiffen, of Spennymoor, on the evening of Friday, February 2, 2018, who refused to give evidence during the inquest.

Despite being warned by Assistant Coroner Oliver Longstaff that he could be held in contempt of court if he did not cooperate, Mr Wiffen said he had been advised not to answer any further questions and went on to shake his head and shrug his shoulders when being questioned.

Mr Wiffen was eventually stood down to seek legal advice and is due back into court today (Friday, May 17.)

In a statement given to police and read out during the inquest, Mr Wiffen said he had experienced a flashback of the incident, in which a car came onto the wrong side of the road.

However, PC Robin Turner of Durham Police’s Collision Investigation Unit, said the incident could not have taken place anywhere other than on the Audi’s side of the road, and that the Fiat 500 had veered onto the wrong side of the carriageway.

PC Turner said both cars suffered extensive damage, the windscreen of the Fiat had come completely off the car and the roof had creased.

He found that neither car was travelling in excess of the speed limit, both drivers and passengers were wearing seatbelts and he ruled out the possibility of a fault with the Fiat that could have prevented Miss Ryder from controlling it.

He added: “All I can say is that there’s been a steered input but where it’s come from I can’t say.”

A post-mortem found that Miss Ryder had no alcohol or drugs in her system at the time of the incident and she died as a result of her injuries.

A statement from Clarke Ellis, the driver of the Audi A3, was read out during the inquest which explained that he had been out for a meal with his friend Peter French, and the pair were on their way home.

It read: “We were just driving along when this white car came into my lane, it smashed into us and I had no chance to stop.

“It just swerved into us, like the steering wheel had been rove round.

“I looked over and saw (my friend) unconscious, I took my seat belt off and tried to wake him up.

“My window and door were both smashed so I smashed the window some more and climbed out.

“I tried to go over to the other car but couldn’t because of my legs so I laid on the floor until the police came.”

PC Paul Colman, one of the first officers at the scene, also gave evidence at the inquest.

He said: “I tried to open the driver's door [of the Fiat] but couldn’t, I reached into the car to try and open the door from the inside but it was so damaged you could not see where the handle was."

PC Colman pulled Miss Ryder from the car but she was pronounced dead by paramedics soon after.