A coroner has criticised BMW and the Government driving agency for knowing about an electrical fault that caused the death of a Gurkha veteran who crashed to avoid one of the German manufacturer's cars.

Narayan Gurung, 66, of Aldershot, died after driving his Ford Fiesta into a tree on a dark road in Hampshire on Christmas Day 2016 to avoid a car that had cut out because of an electrical fault, Woking Coroner's Court heard on Friday.

Surrey Assistant Coroner Anna Loxton criticised the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) for failing to press BMW for a recall of up to 312,000 cars in the UK, despite envisioning the exact scenario of the former soldier's death 10 months earlier.

She will issue a prevention of further deaths notice in writing to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and DVSA chief executive Gareth Llewellyn.

But Mrs Loxton said she could not conclude that Mr Gurung was unlawfully killed because there was insufficient evidence of corporate manslaughter.

Instead she recorded a narrative conclusion criticising the car manufacturer, its UK importer and the agency for recognising the risk of a complete power outage on an unlit road during a meeting on February 26 2016.

"Despite recognising this risk, the DVSA failed to call for, and BMW AG and BMW UK failed to initiate, a recall until after Mr Gurung's death," she said.

She criticised the DVSA for having no protocol for investigating safety-related defects quickly, having no guidance to interpret its own codes of practice and for lacking critical analysis of the defect.

She said the agency had been aware of a fault since October 2014 when it started to receive an "unusually high" volume of complaints from drivers, but it did not make a "fundamental shift" until after the veteran's death.

But the DVSA failed to recognise it as a safety defect and accepted BMW's case that drivers would get a prior warning before a complete outage and even closed down investigations.

Father-of-three Mr Gurung, who served with "exemplary" conduct in the British Army regiment for nearly 20 years, was driving with his wife to the Royal Surrey County Hospital, where they both worked as housekeepers.

A colleague's BMW had stalled on the Hogs Back road ahead after suffering a "total electrical failure". He tried to put on his hazard lights but they failed because of the lack of power.

Because it was before sunrise, Mr Gurung was unable to see the vehicle until the last moment, when he swerved and hit a tree. He was pronounced dead at the scene due to multiple traumatic injuries, the coroner concluded.

Mrs Loxton said the BMW's driver had made repeated attempts to get minor-seeming electrical issues fixed with his car and said he had no reason to expect it would suffer a total power outage while driving.

Last month, BMW widened its recall of vehicles at risk of electrical faults to include 312,000 UK cars.

The DVSA said BMW failed to alert UK authorities to 19 cases of electrical faults between 2011 and 2014.

The Government agency previously claimed its response to the issue two years before Mr Gurung's crash "might have been different" if the German manufacturer had passed on details of the flaw.

The manufacturer is contacting owners of the affected models made between March 2007 and August 2011: the BMW 1 Series, 3 Series, Z4 and X1 petrol and diesel.