Portsmouth vicar died of head injuries after being hit by taxi

INQUEST The Rev James Diaper, known as Bob, and wife Anne
INQUEST The Rev James Diaper, known as Bob, and wife Anne
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AN 82-year-old man died from severe head injuries after being hit by a taxi while crossing the road, an inquest heard.

The Rev James Diaper, also known as Father Bob, was crossing Laburnum Road in North End, Portsmouth, when he was hit by the Aquacars Vauxhall Vectra.

Mr Diaper, of Wallington Road, Copnor, was taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham where he later died on July 24 last year.

An inquest at Portsmouth Guildhall heard the taxi was stationary and indicating right when it was flashed by an oncoming car in Copnor Road to let it turn into Laburnum Grove.

Passenger Mohammed Namer shouted ‘be careful’ to driver Shaun Rawlins after spotting Mr Diaper, but the car hit him moments later.

A post-mortem revealed he died of severe head injuries.

Mr Rawlins said: ‘There is nothing I or Mr Diaper could have done. It did affect me at the time, bringing it up again is hard. I’m very sorry for what happened.’

Mr Diaper served in the parishes of St Saviour, Stamshaw; St James’, Milton; and St Alban, Copnor.

He joined the navy at 15 and served on HMS Verulam, HMS Sheffield and HMS Carysfort among other ships later becoming a gunnery instructor at HMS Excellent.

On retiring from the navy he became a civil servant and trained for the ministry. He was ordained in 1985.

Wife Anne, 79, said: ‘I keep meeting people I don’t know whose lives he has touched. They have all said beautiful things about him.

‘He had a dreadful sense of humour. He was very generous with his time and thoughtful. His faith meant a lot to him.’

Recording a verdict of accidental death, coroner David Horsley said: ‘The real tragedy is that the time for both Mr Diaper and the car to have reached the point of impact in the road was the same, so that by the time the collision occurred, neither Mr Rawlins the driver or Mr Diaper could have done anything to avoid it.’