An inquest has been officially opened into the deaths of a woman and a man in Kendal

INQUIRIES have been officially opened into the deaths of a young woman and a man from Kendal who died in a road accident near the town.

Moving tributes have been paid by the mothers of Victoria Handley and Jack Willan, both 20, following a collision between two vehicles on the A65 near Stainton. This was reported to police just after midnight in the early hours of September 8.

It was a black Citroën Saxo and a white Vauxhall Antara. Victoria and Jack were sadly pronounced dead at the scene.

A 36-year-old woman driving the Antara was taken to hospital with what police described as “serious injuries”. The road was closed for several hours while a forensic investigation into the collision took place.

In a tribute, Victoria was described as “a wonderful, beautiful and talented girl, who will be forever missed by her family and friends and those who knew and loved her”. Her mother said: “She was a vibrant young woman who loved life and lived it to the fullest.”

Jack was “never without a smile on his face”; “full of fun, wise beyond his years, so kind, generous and fiercely loyal”. “A truly amazing friend to so many people,” his mother said.

Inquests into the deaths of Victoria and Jack were formally opened and adjourned this morning by Cumbria Deputy Coroner Craig Smith at HM Coroners Court in Cockermouth.

Mr Smith noted that Victoria, who lived in Kirkbarrow, Kendal, was a receptionist while Jack, of Rinkfield in the town, was given an occupation as an engineer.

They were taking the A65 from Crooklands towards Kendal town centre. Victoria was driving the Saxo while Jack was the front passenger.

Mr. Smith described some brief circumstances that allegedly led to the collision involving the Antara. It had happened outside Millers Beck guest house, Mill Bridge Lane, about four miles south of Kendal.

The couple had been officially identified by their mothers – Mary Judith Handley and Helen Willan – at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary on September 8.

Mr Smith, who opened the two inquests separately, concluded by saying: “I now adjourn this matter to an interim inquest hearing date of March 9, 2023, when the inquests of Mr Willan and Miss Handley will be heard together.”

In a public appeal after the tragedy, a spokesperson for Cumbria Police asked anyone with information about the incident to report it online at, citing the incident number 2 of July 8, 2022; or by calling 101.

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