MYSTERY remains over why a British army captain was driving down the wrong side of a Hampshire country road moments before he died.

West Hampshire Coroners’ Court heard that Imayavaramban Rajendran, from Andover, died almost instantly when his blue Yamaha motorbike smashed head-on into the path of an oncoming car near Stockbridge.

Moments before the 31-year old crashed into the oncoming silver Berlingo, he had been dining with friends and fellow British Army officers at the Mayfly Pub on the Romsey Road A3057 in Cottonworth.

He drove out of the pub and turned left heading back towards the army headquarters in Andover where he lived. One of his friends, Lieutenant Colonel Gary Candlish, said he had not been drinking that evening.

Driving northbound in the southbound lane, he collided with Trevor Birmingham’s car.

A martial arts instructor, from St David’s Court, North Baddesley, Mr Birmingham had been driving round a bend towards Romsey when he saw the motorbike at about 9pm on July 30.

He told the court: “The motorbike was on my side of the road. It was coming straight at me.

“I literally just saw the front of the bike and the head of the driver.

“The bike was in the centre of my lane and coming towards me.”

Adding that the bike was yards away from him, all Mr Birmingham could do was turn the wheel towards his right but it was too late.

It is believed that both vehicles were travelling about 40 miles an hour.

Mr Birmingham said that the force of the impact “knocked my car back towards the other side of the road”.

He described the scene moments after as “carnage” with debris all over the road.

Moments later, friends of Cpt Rajendran, including Lt Col Candlish, who were following some distance behind him, arrived at the scene.

He said: “We tried to do what we could but because of limitations, such as his helmet, we didn’t want to move him.”

Neither vehicle suffered a mechanical fault and neither driver was “impaired through alcohol or any other drug”.

Senior Coroner for West Hampshire, Grahame Short determined that his death was accidental “due to a road traffic collision”.

He said: “The significant evidence is that the bike was quite clearly travelling on the wrong side of the road.”