'He would do anything for anyone' - sister of Mansfield man killed in bike crash speaks out after inquest
The sister of a 24-year-old Mansfield motorcyclist who was killed in a crash last year has paid tribute to him following an inquest into his death.
Declan Toyne, known as Dec Smedley, died from 'catastrophic’ brain injuries just hours after a collision with a camper van on Berry Hill Lane on September 6.
The inquest at Nottingham Coroners’ Court on Wednesday was told he was over the drug-drive limit and had discarded his helmet at the time of the crash, which happened as he tried to escape from police.
Now Declan’s family have paid tribute to a ‘much-loved family member’ to dispel some of the rumours about the incident.
Sister Chantelle Smedley, 30, described her relationship with Declan as ‘like two peas in a pod’ and remembered him as a ‘fantastic’ brother.
“People have read what happened and made up their minds about him, but they don’t know who Declan was and what he was like – he was a fantastic brother,” she said.
"A lot has been made of his cannabis use, but he wasn’t a ‘druggie’. He struggled with depression and epilepsy and smoked to help his symptoms, not to get high.
"He was a regular smoker, but it really helped him.
"He was a really popular lad. He would do anything for anyone, helping everyone with their gardens and DIY, and he often helped me as a single mum with decorating and odd jobs.
"Everyone called him the big friendly giant and his funeral was testament to how popular he was – we all just miss him so much.”
Chantelle says her brother had not been in trouble with police before the tragedy and believes his only concern leading up to the crash would have been that his bike – borrowed from a friend – would have been seized.
"He’s not this thug that everyone is assuming,” she told Chad.
"He loved bikes and rode whenever he could, and that day was just a ride out with his mates.
"He would have been worrying about his friend’s bike being taken, and that him taking his helmet off would have been the end of it.
"It was just a tragic accident and Declan paid the ultimate price for it. We all just want to grieve for our loss and move on.”