South Normanton pensioner died of head injury after smash

Derby and South Derbyshire Coroners' Court
Derby and South Derbyshire Coroners' Court

A South Normanton pensioner died as a result of a head injury after being struck by a car on a busy high street.

Thomas Nicholls, 89, was hit as the driver failed to see him crossing behind her car, an inquest heard.

The heavy downpour and Mr Nicholl’s dark clothing added to the driver’s poor visibility, the inquest heard.

An inquest into his death was held at Derby Coroners’ Court on Friday, January 9.

The driver, identified in court as Deborah Moore, told the court that on the morning of February 20, she was driving her red Ford Fiesta on the High Street in Alfreton trying to find a parking space.

She told the court: “The traffic was nose-to-tail and I was stuck behind a bus. It was absolutely throwing it down – the conditions weren’t great.

“The bus stopped in front of me to let passengers out when I spotted a parking space on the other side of the B6019 outside the Derbyshire Building Society.

“I pulled out after checking there was no on-coming traffic and checked my mirrors ready to manoeuvre. I started reversing into the space at around one to five miles per hour when suddenly I heard a thump against the back of my car.”

Ms Moore told the court that she stopped the car, got out and walked around to the back, where she was saw Mr Nicholl’s lying on the floor.

Passers-by rushed to his aid and kept him in the same position until the emergency services arrived.

She told the inquest: “I just did not see Mr Nicholls. I wish I had but before I knew it he was already on the floor.”

Mr Nicholl’s, a retired miner of Storth Lane, was taken to the Royal Derby Hospital where he had a CT scan. The scan showed a serious head injury and he was transferred to the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham for surgery to remove a blood clot.

After the operation he was moved back to the Royal Derby.

However, Mr Nicholls’ condition deteriorated and he died as a result of his injuries two days after the accident on February 22, the court was told.

Eye witness reports were read out in court which stated Mr Nicholls had banged the car with both hands in an attempt to warn Ms Moore of his presence then fell backwards, banging his head on the road. Miss Moore’s brake lights then came on and she got out of the vehicle.

PC Nigel Barney of Derbyshire Constabulary said there was no damage to the car and that it was possible that Mr Nicholls was in the drivers blind spot at the time of the accident.

He said: “It is believed that Mr Nicholls got off the bus and crossed the road to where Ms Moore was parking.

“The impact was very light but obviously enough to knock Mr Nicholls to the floor, causing his injuries.”

Assistant coroner Louise Pinder concluded that Mr Nicholl’s death was accidental and he died from complications of the head injury.

She said: “Unfortunately, possibly due to age and his existing health conditions, Mr Nicholl’s condition deteriorated.

“He was not able to come back from the injury as a result of the accident.”