Road death driver ‘not to blame’

A driver who struck a pedestrian after he stepped in front of her car has been told she should not blame herself for his death.

Harry Spencer, 68, died from head injuries two days after he walked into the road in front of Rachel Wright, who was driving up Huddersfield Road, Liversedge, at 6.55am on November 25 last year.

Bradford Coroner’s Court heard this week that Mr Spencer, who lived with and cared for his ‘vulnerable’ elderly brother and sister in Thomas Street, Liversedge, did not give Ms Wright chance to stop as he stepped into the road from a central reservation at the junction of Mark Street. It was dark and damp and Mr Spencer had been wearing dark clothing.

He was taken to Pinderfields hospital and transferred to the Royal Hallamshire neurological intensive unit, but died two days later. Ms Wright said in a statement she remembered seeing Mr Spencer as he walked out in front of her. She said: “He didn’t look at me. He stepped out in front of me and I couldn’t stop.”

Mr Spencer’s niece Susan Pepper said her uncle walked 10 miles a day and suffered from hearing problems, but was able to hear traffic. He walked with a stoop, looking at the ground because he was shy.

Mr Spencer had worked in a tannery and at Birkby’s Plastics until it closed last year.

Collision investigator PC Mark Lingard said Ms Wright was driving at about 30mph and would not have had time to react and start to brake before the impact.

Returning a verdict of accidental death, assistant deputy Bradford coroner Roger Whittaker said: “This was a simple though tragic road traffic accident. The evidence leads me to believe Ms Wright need not blame herself.”