A MOTORCYCLIST involved in fatal crash with Seaham biker Frazer Golden told an inquest he had been “spooked” by a third biker coming from the opposite direction moments before the tragedy.

Mr Golden, 30, died after colliding with David Frost, who was travelling toward, him on the A689 at St John’s Chapel, in Weardale, on Sunday April 9, 2017.

Given evidence at the County Durham and Darlington Coroner's Court, Mr Frost said he was going into a left-hand bend as he left the St John's Chapel, when a bike ridden by Simon McKenzie (a friend of Mr Golden) had passed close to him.

He said it "spooked" him and almost instantaneously his Yamaha R1 handlebars clipped those of Mr Golden's Honda and he fell to the ground.

Asked whether he thought he was driving too fast - at about 50mph in 60mph zone - to safely negotiate the bend, he replied: “No, it could have been done faster, in my opinion.”

Stephen Rowlands, who was travelling behind Mr McKenzie and Mr Golden, told the inquest Mr Golden was riding at around 30 to 35mph just leaving a 30mph zone.

He said: "The R1 comes around the corner at a leaning angle, slightly faster than he should have. I think that he saw Fraser, realised he was going to hit him, sat the bike up and they both connected in the handlebar area.

"I saw Mr Golden wrestling with his handlebars trying to regain control, as Mr Frost dumped his bike on the ground and was sliding towards me. I slammed on brakes as quickly as I could to avoid him hitting me."

Giving evidence earlier at the hearing in Crook, Mr McKenzie said he and Mr Golden, a colleague at Nissan, were returning from Alston when the tragedy unfolded at about 2.30pm.

Mr McKenzie, who was riding in front, said as he was taking a right hand bend on the approach to the village when two motorcycles came past him from the opposite direction "at speed".

When he looked in his rear view mirror Mr McKenzie said Mr Golden did not appear over a crest in the road he retraced his route and found him lying in the road.

Laura Taylor, who was riding behind Mr Frost, described passing Mr McKenzie, before seeing the flashing of Mr Frost's brake lights.

"The next thing he is going down the road. He slid down the road with his bike and then parted company from the bike and bike crossed over the lanes."

Accident investigator expert Simon Hall said in his opinion Mr Frost would have reacted at the moment he first saw Mr McKenzie, because of their proximity and the closing speeds of about 90mph.

He said: "He begins to react. His application of the brake occurs just after Mr McKenzie has passed and that is what takes him across the road."

Mr Hall said there would have been no time for Mr Frost to react to Mr Golden, and the collision had occurred at some point in the centre of the road.

The inquest was told Mr Golden died almost instantly of neck, head and chest injuries with toxicology reports showing no signs of alcohol or drugs in his system.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) initially decided against prosecuting Mr Frost on the grounds of “insufficient evidence” before Mr Golden’s family forced a u-turn after applying for an official Victim’s Right to Review.

Mr Frost, then 35 and of Lyon Street, Hebburn, was formally acquitted of causing death by careless driving in 2019 at Durham Crown Court after the prosecution offered no evidence.

The coroner is expected to return his findings on Friday.