The inquest into the deaths of three young men from Calne who died in the A4 Derry Hill crash has stepped back from an unlawful killing verdict. 

Coroner Ian Singleton said that while there was negligence in the duty of care to passengers, and that the driver, Jordan Rawlings, was over the drink-drive limit and speeding at around 120mph, he did not consider his actions to be 'truly,exceptionally bad.'

Summing up following the hearing into the deaths of Matthew Parke, Ryan Nelson and Corey Owen, he said his verdict 'did not excuse the actions of the driver, but there was insufficient evidence for unlawful killing.'

Earlier in the three-and-a-half-hour hearing, the solicitor representing the family of Matthew Parke had pressed the coroner to form a harsher verdict.

In the end he ruled they died as a result of a road traffic accident, but added the narrative to include the actions and state of the driver. 

The court heard 26 written statements from different witnesses, starting with one of Jordan Rawlings' friends Adam Inkpen. 

In his statement he said Jordan had taken him and a girlfriend to his house, had a beer and a kebab before picking up a few more beers at the garage, adding that he didn't seem to be affected by having a couple. 

But the court heard Jordan had a level of 114mg of alcohol in his blood - the legal limit is 80.

Around 2.30am on August 16 he went to pick up Ryan, Corey and Matthew who had been on a night out in Chippenham.

He picked them up and sped around Chippenham before heading back towards Calne, picking up speed to around 80mph at the Pewsham roundabout.

Police accident investigators estimated that the VW Polo was travelling at around 120 mph when it clipped the kerb, but were unable to determine the exact speed.

They said the gradual bend could only be taken at a maximum of around 95mph.

The car lost a front wheel and hit a tree before rotating, and going backwards before hitting the house at Derry Hill waking the elderly residents and their guests with a loud bang. It rebounded back into the garden.

Members of the public including a lorry driver and a taxi full of three men all stopped after seeing what looked like a bonfire at 3am. They tried in vain to help but the extreme heat pushed them back. 

They could hear screams and shouts for help from inside the car, which was described as a crumpled box.

PC Sean Williams was one of the first officers at the scene. He said: "I could hear screaming in the vehicle. We went to get the fire extinguishers but they were no match for the blaze."

Flames reached the height of the house

The post mortems showed that both Ryan and Matthew died from suffocation and inhalation of hot air. Corey died from a head injury as a result of the accident. The inquest into the death of the driver, Jordan Rawlings is to be held next week.