Pensioner died in collision with own car in Wickhambrook, inquest hears

Emily Frost Close, Wickhambrook
Emily Frost Close, Wickhambrook
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A 74-year-old woman died after a neighbour helping her reverse her car released the handbrake and it reversed into her, an inquest heard.

Susan Anne Tovey, of Emily Frost Close, Wickhambrook, attempted to manoeuvre her Ford Fiesta car out of a parking bay near her home on October 9 last year but was unable to do so due to other cars.

An inquest into her death, in Bury St Edmunds, on Wednesday, heard that neighbour and friend Ray Featherstone came to assist.

Her car was moved a short distance and he then moved his car to give her more room, according to a statement from PC Andrew Fossey, read by assisant coroner Daniel Sharpstone.

Mrs Tovey then attempted to reverse her car but was unable to release her handbrake and called Mr Featherstone for help. She stood at the back of the car while he reached inside and released the handbrake.

The Fiesta had been left in reverse and being an automatic began to reverse on its own.

The inquest heard that she fell to the floor either as a result of trying to get out of the way or being struck by the vehicle. PC Fossey’s report noted that ‘it would have been extremely difficult for Mr Featherstone to stop the vehicle once it started to move backwards’.

A post mortem by Dr Karl Love, consultant pathologist at West Suffolk Hospital, found that Mrs Tovey died as a result of a basal skull fracture, left chest crush fracture with left plural haemorrhage and a road traffic collision.

Mr Sharpstone recorded a conclusion of accidental death.

At the time of the incident, the Bury Free Press reported that Mr Featherstone had tried to stop the car shooting back but got caught in the door as it reversed and was dragged a short distance along the ground. He received hospital treatment for shock, needed stitches for a gash on his head and was left with cuts and bruises on his arms, legs and back.