Cause of Viola Beach crash ‘will never be known’

Warrington band and manager passed away after an accident in Sweden

A coroner has concluded that he does not think it will “ever be known” what caused the crash that killed Viola Beach.

The upcoming band were on a tour when their car plummeted from a bridge into a canal 18 miles from Swedish capital Stockholm on February 13, killing all four members of the band (Kris Leonard, River Reeves, Tomas Lowe and Jack Dakin) and their manager Craig Tarry.

Following an inquest in their hometown of Warrington, Cheshire Coroner Nicholas Rheinberg described the crash as “the most awful tragedy”.


He ruled that manager Tarry and band members River Reeves, Jack Dakin, Kris Leonard died due to head injuries. Bass guitarist Lowe died due to drowning, reports BBC News.

Mr Rheinberg said: “It’s not for me to speculate… I don’t think it ever will be known what happened.”

He added that “the evidence did not reveal the cause of sequence of events” that led to their deaths and there were “frustrating missing gaps” which meant he was not able to demand information from Swedish authorities as he could from British organisations.

Earlier, it was reported that “all five friends will not have suffered” and that “no evidence of drugs” was found but a “small amount of alcohol” had been consumed by the band members. Driver and manager Tarry had “no drugs or alcohol” in his system and had been “driving in a controlled manner”.

The inquest heard the car was slightly over the speed limit, travelling at 108km/h (67mph) in a 100km/h zone.


A lorry driver said in a written statement that the car drove around queuing traffic and hit a barrier and raised section of the bridge.

One warning light was out of order but there were at least 10 working warning lights and flashing signals, according to the inquest.

Supt Martin Cleworth, from Cheshire Police, said outside the Warrington court: “We don’t know the final answer… in terms of what actually happened at those moments just prior to the final collision and tragic descent into the water.

“We have given a commitment to continue to work with the coroner and the families to try and seek to understand some other issues that came from the inquest.

“Those questions are unlikely to actually ever get to that fundamental fact as to what went on in the seconds leading to the tragic collision.”

A posthumous Viola Beach album was released in July and made it to the top of the UK chart.

Coldplay paid tribute to Viola Beach during their Glastonbury headline set. Frontman Chris Martin told the crowd: “We’re going to create Viola Beach’s alternative future for them and let them play Glastonbury for a song.”

Watch Blossoms pay tribute to Viola Beach in the video below.