United Kingdom

Convicted murderer, 40, took amphetamines before she died in Crete jeep crash, inquest hears

A convicted murderer who went on to become an award-winning entrepreneur died as a result of a road traffic collision in Greece, an inquest heard.

Zara Crane-Davies, 40, died alongside Luke Hall, 18, when the 4x4 she was driving overturned in Malia on the island of Crete.

Ms Crane-Davies, who lived in Wythenshawe, south Manchester, was given a life sentence for killing a man in 2003.

At the time, the mother-of-two lived in a ground floor flat in Purley, south London, when she got involved in a row with her neighbour, David Thompson, 37.

She fatally stabbed him outside his front door by piercing his heart with a 10-inch kitchen knife.

Ms Crane-Davies, then known as Sara Crane, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 12 years.

Zara Crane-Davies, 41, died in a car crash in Crete. She was jailed for murder in 2003 after she stabbed a neighbour to death, then took part in Britain's first lesbian prison wedding in 2010 when she married fellow inmate Jo Crane-Davies, who was serving time for drug dealing

The Court of Appeal rejected an appeal against the sentence in 2005.

Ms Crane-Davies argued that the trial judge had not taken into account her 'appalling personal life' or her guilty plea when setting the minimum term.

When she was in jail, she made history by being involved in the first-ever lesbian prison wedding, marrying convicted drug dealer Jo Crane-Davies, 46.

Manchester Coroner's Court heard Jo was not with her wife in Greece at the time of the collision on 8 July 2019.

She said she flew out to Crete when she was informed of her wife's death but was upset to discover an autopsy had been done and organs removed without Greek officials telling her.

Senior coroner, Nigel Meadows, described how a post-mortem examination was first carried out in Greece followed by another on July 31.

After her release, thought to be some time around 2012, Zara went to work for Working Chance, which helps female convicts find jobs (pictured left, with wife Jo right)

In 2018 Zara won Mentor of the Year at the Northern Power Women awards in recognition of her work, then left Working Chance to found her own consultancy called SocialInvestor

He described how during the accident Ms Crane-Davies had suffered 'extensive traumatic injuries', in particular a head injury and upper torso injury, which were 'unsurvivable.'

A toxicology report showed evidence of amphetamine in Ms Crane-Davies's liver, but it was seen as inconclusive as to whether that contributed to the crash.

Mr Meadows said: 'On July 8, 2019 near Malia, Crete, Zara was driving a motor vehicle with two occupants in an open-top jeep.

'The vehicle went out of control and a crash occurred from which she suffered catastrophic unsurvivable injuries.'

Mr Meadows concluded that Ms Crane-Davies had died as a result of a road traffic collision.

After the hearing, Jo Crane-Davies, a bus driver, said: 'Zara was lovely inside and out.

Luke Hall, 18, and apprentice joiner from Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, died alongside Zara Crane-Davies in the jeep crash on the Greek island of Crete in July, 2019, an inquest heard

'She was selfless and was doing good, helping women who had been in prison to get back into jobs.

'She was beautiful and she was unique.'

Ms Crane-Davies, a director of Socialinvestor CIC, was crowned Mentor of the Year at the 2018 Northern Power Women Awards.

At the time of her death, Northern Power Women said: 'Our thoughts are with the loved ones of Zara Crane-Davies and all involved in this tragic accident.

'Zara was a vibrant, pioneering supporter of the Northern Power Women family and she will be greatly missed.'

In 2019, Zara became the Chief Operating Officer of the Resume Foundation, a network that links up non-profit organisations helping marginalised people back into work, with employers looking for staff.

A statement from Resume Foundation said: 'Zara's motivation to help anyone in need and her will to beat life was astounding.

'She has inspired many around us and will continue to do so with her legacies. Zara will be sadly missed by us and the whole Third Sector.

'She now lives on in a better place. Our thoughts go out to her family, friends and loved ones.'  

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