A BELOVED deputy headteacher died in a crash caused by tyre pressure on a 21-year-old man's car, an inquest has heard.

Jill Evans, who was deputy head at Ledbury Primary School and lived in Walwyn Road in Colwall, was one of two people who died in a crash on the B4445 in Oxfordshire on January 26.

Mrs Evans, 58, was a passenger in the back of her daughter’s white Volkswagen Golf with her grandson and husband when the car was hit just after 9.15am by a black Mini Cooper driven by Ben Folley, who was also killed.

An inquest at Oxford Coroner’s Court on Wednesday heard how Mr Folley, 21-year-old labourer from Chinnor, was out driving to get his mum a birthday card, later found in the footwell, when he crashed.

Oxfordshire coroner Darren Salter described how Mr Folley lost control on a bend and veered to the other side of the 60mph road, into the path of the oncoming VW Golf.

Brian Evans, Mrs Evans’ husband, who was in the front passenger seat, said: “We were approaching a left-hand bend when I became aware of a small hatchback car coming towards us, on the wrong side of the road.”

Mr Evans described seeing Mr Folley’s car "about 50 yards away" about one second before impact.

A black box in the Mini recorded Mr Folley driving at a safe 58mph, and the other car was thought to be at similar speed.

Mr Evans added: “It was an almighty crash, and crunch of metal on metal. The airbags went off and I felt like I couldn’t breathe.”

Statements from forensic vehicle examiners detailed to the court that the VW had no defects.

But in examining the Mini Cooper, investigators found the rear nearside tyre was deflated prior to the crash.

Forensic collision investigator James Henderson said further examination found that the tyre was "severely under inflated" at the time of the crash, and was likely to have been driven in that condition for "a significant distance".

Mr Folley's father said in court that his wife, an experienced driver, had driven the car in the days before the crash and had not noticed any issues with the tyre pressure.

An internal indicator designed to make drivers aware of potential flat tyres had not been lit.

Mr Folley said that had his son seen such an alert he would have dealt with it immediately or asked a member of his family to do so.

When Ben Folley, who was found to have no alcohol or drugs in his system, went to navigate the bend this would likely have led him to lose control, investigators said.

The cause of death for both crash victims was multiple injuries caused by a road traffic collision.

After Mrs Evans' death, Ledbury Primary School held a special assembly called 'A Hug for Mrs Evans', to remember all the things they loved about the popular deputy head.

At the time, headteacher Julie Rees said: "Jill had been with the school since 2000. She joked that she came as a supply teacher and ended up staying forever.

"She was a fabulous, wonderful teacher and friend. She had a great sense of humour, but she was never flamboyant; she was kind, with a wonderful way with people, and she was always so well organised.

"Her death is an absolutely huge loss to me, personally."

Mrs Rees added: "We've been overwhelmed by the huge support of the people of Ledbury. Lots of flowers have been sent. There is a floral tribute outside the school, and other schools from far and wide have contacted us to know they are thinking of us."