A motorist distracted sending a text message to his wife was killed in a crash with a refrigerated lorry, an inquest heard.

Darren Green, 35, was tragically killed on February 28 this year when the Peugeot he was driving swerved onto the wrong side of Bishopsford Road in Mitcham, hitting the 15 tonne truck.

The MOT tester was driving a customer’s car to the garage he worked at in Carshalton when the accident occurred at about 8.10 am.

At the inquest into his death at Westminster’s Corners Court yesterday, Kath Chisolm, from the police CID team that investigated the incident, said mobile phone records showed he had sent a text message to his wife of only eight months, Angela Green, moments before the accident is understood to have happened.

Witness Mr Brian Owen, who was in the car in front of Mr Green, told the inquest how the 35-year-old had just missed the rear of his car as he veered across the road.

He told the court: "I was slowing down as we approached traffic at the junction. The car behind me was moving over to the left, then he changed his mind when he saw the stationary cars."

The inquest heard Mr Green was not wearing a seatbelt when he was hit by the lorry, which was on its way to St Helier Hospital.

One witness, Alan Parkinson, had told the court he felt lorry driver Martin Bourke was going "far too fast", but the lorry's digital tachograph revealed he could not have been going faster than 27mph.

Mr Bourke told the court: "I was coming down the hill, I checked in my mirror for motorbikes flying past, I looked back and the Peugeot was in front of me, it was a split second, like a blink of an eye."

Coroner Fiona Wilcox, in recording a verdict of accidental death, said: "Darren Paul Green was distracted by sending a text message and was taken by surprise by stationary traffic in front of him. This case has shown once again about the dangers of using mobile phones when driving."

Widow Mrs Green described Mr Green as "a truly exceptional person who I was proud to say was my husband."