The inquest into the deaths of four members of Rhyl Cycling Club finally opened yesterday (Monday), 15 months after the fatal tragedy in North Wales.

Thomas Harland, 14, Maurice Broadbent, 61, Dave Horrocks, 55, and Wayne Wilkes, 42, died in January 2006 after a car skidded on ice near Abergele.

Coroner John Hughes told the jury they would hear evidence of the road's condition. It had not been gritted on the morning of the collision and the jury heard that this route was not one gritted by Conwy Council.

There had been an earlier accident near the scene that same morning. The police had contacted Conwy Council about conditions on the road.

Hughes told the jury the evidence they would hear would vary from those who thought the condition of the road was 'appalling' to those who did not notice any adverse conditions.

Motorist Robert Harris, 47, from Abergele, was fined £180 with £35 costs last August and given six points on his licence after admitting having defective tyres.

The court heard that the defective tyres were not a factor in the accident. At a preliminary hearing in January Mr Hughes described as 'totally unsatisfactory' delays in obtaining a full statement from a key witness. He said justice was not being served.

He also said that the delay in the authority supplying gritting records indicated the need for improved communication between Conwy Council and North Wales Police.

Mr Hughes said there was a danger the cyclists' families might think there was a cover-up.

The inquest is expected to last a month and hear some 200 witnesses.

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