An amateur footballer killed in a crash just days prior to Christmas lost control of his vehicle moments before he was involved in a fatal head-on collision, an inquest heard.

White Notley striker Reis Farley-Hearn, 28, was killed when his Mercedes van collided with a Volkswagen along Dunmow Road, Thaxted, on December 19 last year.

All three emergency services attended but despite the best efforts of paramedics, Mr Farley-Hearn was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the Volkswagen was meanwhile taken to hospital with serious injuries.

At a full inquest into Mr Farley-Hearn's death on Friday, Essex Coroner's Court was told the crash had occurred on the Thaxted bound side of the single-lane road around 6.30pm.

Mr Farley-Hearn, who lived in Black Notley at the time of his death, had been travelling in the opposite direction towards Dunmow.

The court heard from PC Jason Howard of the Forensic Collision Investigation Unit at Essex Police who said a full investigation had found there were no issues with either vehicle involved in the tragedy.

PC Howard said it appeared likely Mr Farley-Hearn, who was a quantity surveyor, had lost control of his Mercedes when travelling around a "gentle" bend and he had attempted "late and harsh" steering to correct the vehicle's path.

A post-mortem found the deceased had died of multiple injuries and toxicology analysis found traces of cocaine in his blood. However, the court was told there wasn't clear evidence to suggest what had caused Mr Farley-Hearn to lose control of his vehicle.

In his conclusion, PC Howard said: "Visibility was clear, it was dark and the road was wet but driving conditions were generally satisfactory.

"No contributory faults or defects were found on the road surface or the vehicles involved. The rear side wheels of the Mercedes driven by Mr Farley-Hearn left the carriageway edge as it travelled around the right hand bend, immediately prior to the scene.

"Mr Farley-Hearn attempted to steer the van back towards the road but the van started to yaw with its rear wheels tracking outside the front.

"The van prescribed a curved path and returned to the carriageway but due to its state of yaw continued across into the opposing road and into the path of the oncoming Volkswagen. Having entered the Thaxted-bound lane, the Mercedes collided with the Volkswagen.

"The possible reasons why Mr Farley-Hearn allowed the Mercedes to leave the carriageway, causing loss of control, could be due to factors such as fatigue, misjudgement, in-attention or distraction.

"Additionally, toxicology report concluded that Mr Farley-Hearn had used cocaine at some point prior to a sample being taken."

Analysis carried out by officers suggested Mr Farley-Hearn had not been wearing a seatbelt at the time of the collision.

At the end of the hearing, senior coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray ruled Mr Farley-Hearn had died as a result of a road traffic collision but admitted there were still unanswered questions.

She said: "What a tragedy - we'll never quite know what was going through his mind, whether he had been distracted or whatever just before he approached that part of the road.

"He clearly was much-loved seeing you all here and I would again like to express sympathy to you.

"I hope you will be able to look back on the happy memories you have."

Mr Farley-Hearn had spent several years playing for many of the amateur football clubs in the district, including, Braintree Town, Halstead Town and Witham Town.

His family described him as the "loudest and funniest character in the room" and said they were "heartbroken" by his death.