Driver blameless over widow’s death in crash

Yatton High Street.

Yatton High Street. - Credit: Archant

A widow died after being hit by a car on a ‘dark and wet’ winter night, a court heard.

Molly Hull, aged 78, was crossing Yatton High Street on December 14 at around 5pm when Terry Hancock hit her with his car.

Avon Coroner’s Court heard on March 28 Mr Hancock was driving down the 30mph street towards Clevedon when he heard a ‘loud bang’ and saw a shadow pass his window.

He said: “I got out of my car and saw an elderly lady lying on the floor and I realised I had hit her. I was a mess and very shocked.”

Mr Hancock passed alcohol and drug tests.

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Mrs Hull suffered a fracture to her left leg and cracked ribs and was rushed to hospital where she had emergency surgery, but she contracted pneumonia and died seven days later on December 21.

Robert Grace, who was driving in the opposite lane to Mr Hancock, saw ‘something white’ – now known to be her handbag – which caught his attention and he stopped his car.

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He said: “I saw the person step back as if surprised to see me and into the path of oncoming traffic and on impact the lady was thrown into the air and landed in the road in front of my car.”

Police Constable Joseph Sample reviewed CCTV footage and told the court there was ‘nothing more Mr Hancock could do’ to avoid Mrs Hull, who was wearing dark clothing at the time.

He explained to the court how Mr Grace had the contrast of Mrs Hull’s white handbag, which she clutched to her left side, but Mr Hancock did not.

PC Sample said the CCTV showed light from car headlights and shops had caused a glare on the road which made it ‘very difficult’ for Mrs Hull to be seen.

The accident happened outside Scoop & Spice near Elborough Avenue.

Shop owner Emdad Uddin said Mrs Hull regularly stopped to chat with him since moving to Yatton earlier in the year.

Mr Uddin told the court Mrs Hull often walked out into the road without checking and says he has seen drivers forced to swerve or emergency stop to avoid her – however PC Sample believes she did look after CCTV shows she ‘paused’ for a substantial amount of time.

Assistant coroner Dr Peter Harrowing concluded Mrs Hull died from pneumonia due to her multiple injuries sustained in a road traffic collision.

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