Coroner rules pensioner hit by a milk van was a ‘tragic accident’

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A CORONER who looked into the death of a pensioner after she was hit by a milk delivery van wants to make recommendations of how vehicles should park at a retirement home.

Kathleen Border, 93, lived in Northwood House, in Northwood Square, in Fareham.

An inquest held at the Portsmouth Guildhall today heard that on May 13 last year, Ms Border had left her flat in the morning and was going to visit her daughter.

The court heard how Ms Border used a three-wheel frame to help her mobility, had arthritis, used a hearing aid, and could not see out of her left eye due to glaucoma – but was otherwise in good health.

Mr Roy Kent, 56, of Gosport, a milk delivery driver, had been driving a white Ford Transit van, which had been modified to store milk at the back of the vehicle, and also meant his view was obstructed.

He had parked in a bay, and gone to deliver milk at the home, which he does three times a week.

The court heard that after making a delivery, Mr Kent saw Ms Border at the pavement, and thought she had stopped.

He said: ‘I was in my normal vehicle and make deliveries there three times a week, and there for 10 minutes each time.

‘I saw her as I got into the car, when she got to the bottom of the pathway, I believed she had stopped to let me go.

‘I was preparing to set off, when I got in the vehicle I checked my mirrors, and I couldn’t see her.

‘I started reversing, then stopped when I heard a scream.’

The court heard how Mr Kent moved his vehicle slightly forward, and then got out to assist Ms Border.

An ambulance was called and Ms Border was taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, where she was found to have multiple fractures.

She stayed in QA, where she began to make progress with physiotherapy, and was transferred to the Ark Royal ward, in Gosport War Memorial Hospital, on August 30.

After contracting urinary tract infections, Ms Border died on October 8 – with the cause given as bronchopneumonia.

The court heard that the van had been fitted with reverse sensors, but Mr Kent stopped when he heard a scream.

Coroner David Horsley gave the verdict of accidental death.

He said also said he would write to the management of the home, to ensure lessons are learnt from this incident.

He said: ‘There are a considerable number of elderly patients – a lot in a similar or worse situation that Ms Border.

‘The rules on parking must be made clear, and drivers should reverse in, inside of out a space, to help visibility.

‘This was a tragic accident.’