Woman's Cyprus death shrouded in mystery

THE exact cause of a former Bulwell woman's death in Cyprus is likely to remain a mystery forever, an inquest heard.

A verdict of accidental death was recorded on 20-year-old Rachael Rhodes, who was killed in a road accident.

A car in which she was a back-seat passenger collided with another in Northern Cyprus on April 15 last year.

Although the driver – a colleague of Rachael – was arrested after the collision, her family say they have never been told if any criminal proceedings were pursued against him.

Rachael's mother, Christine Rhodes, told the inquest that the standard of driving in that area was so poor that it was "just part of the norm" for people to be killed or injured.

Nottinghamshire's assistant deputy coroner Catherine Mason said the only evidence forthcoming from the Cypriot authorities was that the driver "lost control".

She apologised to family members that she could not shed any more light on the circumstances.

Rachael was a former pupil of Bulwell's Cantrell Primary and Henry Mellish Comprehensive Schools.

She went to live in Cyprus to be with her parents and took a job as a waitress. She had lived on the island exactly a year before the fatal crash.

Her parents launched a road-safety campaign in her memory and were helped by Rachael's aunt, Helen Smallwood, landlady of the Pelham pub in Gawthorne Street, New Basford.

Rachael's father, Stephen Rhodes, said he wanted to refute a claim by the Cypriot authorities that the accident happened on a bend in the road.

He added that another error in the evidence was that Rachael was travelling in a taxi.

Mr Rhodes claimed that, amazingly, the road was not shut off to traffic for an investigation after the crash.

The inquest heard that the family's campaign had led to the wearing of front seat-belts in Cyprus being made compulsory, a ban on the import of left-hand drive cars and more speed cameras on the island.

Mrs Mason told Mr and Mrs Rhodes: "Rachael's death was very tragic but it sounds as if you are now creating something positive out of the loss."