AN Army officer died after he swerved to avoid a huge pothole while cycling home from work and was hit by a lorry, an inquest heard today.

Captain Jonathan Allen, 29, of 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, was cycling towards Burbage along the A338 from his barracks in Tidworth when the collision occurred shortly after 7pm on March 24.

The inquest in Salisbury heard there were a series of potholes stretching for 20m along the road just past the Leckford crossroads.

PC James Trafford, a forensic examiner with Wiltshire Police, said the ‘substantially degraded road surface’ was one metre wide, and the rainy weather conditions would have prevented Capt Allen from seeing it.

“There was no advance warning of this variation of the road surface,” he said. “A tyre mark on the ground approximately one metre prior to this area suggests Capt Allen may have taken sudden avoiding action, causing the rear wheel to lock.

“It is not possible to confirm whether the area of degraded road surface caused Capt Allen to fall from his bike.

“However as a result of my investigation and in the absence of any other factors, I believe it is highly likely that this was the cause.”

Verdict: accidental death.

* For a full report see the August 12 edition of the Salisbury Journal.