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Inquest is opened into death of toy firm boss Andrew West

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: January 21, 2014

BUYING EXPERT: Andrew West was well known in business.

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FRIENDS from as far away as China are expected to attend the funeral of a toy company director killed on the A30 in north Cornwall when his car hit a tree.

Tributes have been paid this week to Andrew West, who was on his way to a trade show in Newquay when his white Jaguar XK left the westbound carriageway at Two Bridges, west of Launceston, on January 3.

An inquest was opened and adjourned at Truro Coroners' Court on Thursday.

His business partner paid tribute to him as a loving family man and generous friend.

Mr West, who was married with two children, was well known in the Cornish business world as the joint director of KandyToys Ltd, a successful import business based near Exeter.

Last year the company had a turnover of almost £12 million and Mr West was on his way to attend a gift trade show in Newquay when the accident happened.

Fellow director David Kirkby said he had known Mr West for 39 years, having met him while both were working for Mars Ltd.

He said Mr West's business acumen and buying skills had made him widely respected in the trade: "He was probably the best buyer I've ever known: one of the best businessmen, with a unique skill of buying products.

"He spent around 16 weeks a year in China and we have an office in Hong Kong which he used to run.

"He was a lovely man – generous, funny and genuine.

"We spent 14 hours a day at work. KandyToys was his life and we both loved what we did.

"He was very well respected overseas and lots of people are expected to come from the Far East for the funeral.

"He'd been going out to China for 28 years and lots of people want to come over to pay their respects."

Mr West and his business partner established what was to become KandyToys Ltd in 1978. Today it employs 52 people and operates from a new warehouse in Clyst St Mary.

It imports toys, beach goods, pools and gifts for the retail and wholesale trade across the UK and its biggest customers include The Range and, in Cornwall, Trago Mills.

The police's Serious Collisions Investigation Unit says it would like to talk to a woman driving a people carrier-style vehicle who stopped at nearby Plusha Services at the time of the accident.

Anyone with information is being asked to contact police on 101, quoting log number 100 of January 3, 2014.

An inquest has also been opened and adjourned into the death of Stuart Long, who died on Sunday, December 22, and was reportedly standing on the eastbound carriageway near Launceston when he was struck by three vehicles.

Mr Long, who was 38 and from Launceston, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The male driver of a white Peugeot Boxer van, registered to St Columb Major, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and interviewed by police. Aged 50 and understood to come from the local area, he has been released on police bail until March 12.

The other vehicles involved were a blue Peugeot 106, registered to an address in Launceston, and a white Mercedes Sprinter van whose registered keeper is in Newton Abbot.

The female driver of the Peugeot 106 and both male van drivers were treated by paramedics at the scene for shock.

Cornwall Coroner Emma Carlyon will review both cases at the end of the month.

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