Brierley Hill pensioner died after he was knocked down by a skip lorry, inquest heard

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A 90 YEAR-old Navy war veteran died from multiple injuries when he was hit by a skip lorry while crossing a Brierley Hill road, an inquest heard.

Arnold Soulsby, of Myles Court, John Street, Brierley Hill, was confirmed dead at Russells Hall Hospital, after the incident in Bank Street at around 1.30pm on January 30 last year.

The inquest at Dudley Coroners Court heard that Mr Soulsby, who served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, would not have been visible to the lorry driver when he stepped in front of the vehicle.

Police road traffic collision investigator, Mark Dixon, who reconstructed the accident, told Thursday's inquest that Mr Soulsby had crossed the road in front of the lorry and behind another car just as the traffic lights changed to green.

He continued: "When the traffic lights changed from red to green, the skip lorry drove forward, travelling over the pedestrian, who was shorter than the lower edge of the windscreen, so wouldn't have been visible to the driver.

"The pedestrian crossed in an inappropriate location, a few metres from the pedestrian crossing facility."

Mr Dixon said the lorry did not have a forward view mirror, allowing the driver to see in front of the vehicle but said as it was manufactured in 2001, it was not a requirement as the regulations only applied to lorries built after 2007.

Geoffrey Hawkins who was driving the lorry, told the inquest he had been driving the vehicles for 15 years.

He said on this occasion it wasn't his own lorry but he felt comfortable driving it.

Mr Hawkins said at no point did he see Mr Soulsby and added: "The lights changed to green and I went to the next set of traffic lights. I was stopped by a car that came up the side of me and told me what had happened, that was the first I knew about it."

Mr Soulsby's daughter, Susan Rowley, said her father was a member of the Black Country Bowls Club and was very independent and active.

She continued: "He loved walking, he'd go out every day, it is what kept him fit, ironically that was his downfall.

"My grandchildren have had to have bereavement counselling because of the shock, they were so close to him. It might seem odd that a 90-year-old could be the centre of his family, but he was and he is greatly missed.

"I'm alarmed that regulations say vehicles from 2007 need mirrors but before that they don't. Had mirrors been on that vehicle, this probably wouldn't have happened."

Senior Black Country coroner, Robin Balmain said: "I share Mrs Rowley's concerns, I have to say this is at least the sixth case of it's nature that I have dealt with over the last eight years. The first time I did have such a case I wrote to the Department for Transport and asked them to consider what could be done about it and the regulation then came in for forward facing mirrors in 2007 but for whatever reason it wasn't felt necessary to make it retrospective."

Mr Balmain vowed to write to the department again to press the importance of all vehicles having the mirrors fitted and concluded that Mr Stanfield died as a result of the head, neck and chest injuries sustained in the collision.

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