TWO men died in a head-on crash when one driver attempted an illegal overtake, an inquest heard.

Christoper Coombes, 63, and Daniel Curtin, 58, both died at the scene near Nether Wallop.

Mr Curtin, from Reading, was travelling on the A30 towards Salisbury on November 22 at just after 6.50am when he attempted the manoeuvre while driving up a hill between Wallop Drive and Hollom Down Road, near Lopcombe Corner, Winchester Coroner’s Court heard.

But Mr Coombes, a father-of-two from Broad Chalke, was travelling in the opposite direction in a Citroen Nemo van and could not see the VW Caddie over the brow of the hill.

The two vehicles collided in the eastbound carriageway.

Pathologists Dr Balvinder Shoker said both men suffered extensive injuries and death would have been instantaneous.

Witness Clive Deacon, whom Mr Curtin attempted to overtake, said: “I saw some lights gaining on me from behind and also saw some lights coming from in front of me too.”

“[Mr Curtin] was coming up behind me just as I was getting to the brow of the hill.

“Then I heard a big bang and suddenly there were no lights behind me. I then braked, turned around and went back.

“I saw the vans were smashed up head-to-head.”

Mr Deacon, who had previously passed a first aid course, phoned for an ambulance and ran over to the vehicles to help the drivers.

Paramedics arrived 15 minutes later, but could do nothing to save the pair.

PC Steve Wootton, a forensic officer with Hampshire Police, confirmed that the stretch of road on which Mr Curtin attempted the manoeuvre was marked with a solid white line – indicating no overtaking.

PC Wootton also said the force of the impact would have totalled more than 100mph; the Citroen was thrown into a hedge.

“It would seem that both drivers were left with little or no time to react to the situation; there is no evidence to suggest that either driver was braking at the time of the collision,” explained the officer.

“Why Mr Curtin decided to overtake and and contravene the double white line system is not clear.”

It was confirmed that neither driver was using their phone at the time of the incident and both were wearing seatbelts.

Senior coroner Grahame Short concluded the pair’s death was a result of a road traffic collision.