A FORMER school governor and parish councillor died after pulling out of a junction into the path of another car on the A303, an inquest heard.

Diane Atkins, aged 73, of Swallowcliffe, was driving a silver Mazda MX-3 when she collided with a Vauxhall Astra at the bottom of Woodbine Hill near the Fonthill Gifford junction on July 4, 2017 at about 2.10pm.

In a statement read out at the inquest on Friday at Salisbury coroner’s court Mrs Atkin’s daughter, Louise, said on the day of the crash her mother had been due to travel to Manor Farm, Codford to collect her cat and she was “very familiar” with the local roads.

Christopher Morley, the driver of the Astra, was travelling from London with his wife and 16-month-old son to Cornwall for a holiday. He described the conditions as sunny and dry with good visibility, and the road surface was in good repair. The traffic flow was “quite quiet”.

As he approached the junction to his left he noticed two stationary vehicles – including the Mazda - waiting for a gap to drive across the two-lane section and join the carriageway.

In a statement read by coroner David Ridley, Mr Morley said the Mazda pulled out slowly in front of him with no warning, adding: “I immediately slammed on my breaks and swerved to the right to avoid her but there was nothing I could do. We hit her straight on.”

Nigel Clift, who witnessed the incident, reported seeing the car edging out of the junction and into the path of the Vauxhall.

He said: “The accident was unavoidable in my opinion. I feel the driver of the family car did all he could to avoid the impact.”

Collision investigator PC Simon Wilson, of the Tri Force unit, said there was no evidence of any mechanical failures that would have contributed to the collision or that the vehicles were being driven in “anything other than a normal manner prior to the collision”.

A post mortem determined that Mrs Atkins died of multiple injuries.

Coroner David Ridley concluded that Mrs Atkins died as a result of a road traffic collision.

He said: “Diane died at the scene at 2.55pm as a result of sustaining multiple traumatic injuries when her silver Mazda MX3 she was driving, slowly pulled out of an unclassified road leading from Fonthill Bishop onto the A303 near to Woodbine Hill and into the path of a westbound Vauxhall Astra. Diane more likely than not intended to turn right onto the eastbound side of the carriageway, and the collision occurred when she attempted to cross the westbound side of the carriageway.”

Mrs Atkins was a retired market trader in Salisbury and was chairman of Swallowcliffe Parish Council.

She was also a governor at South Wilts Grammar School for 25 years and during that time she was appointed chairman.