Family of Waterlooville lollipop man still seeking justice for him

Lollipop man Ray Elsmore with his grandaughter Sonia Watt
Lollipop man Ray Elsmore with his grandaughter Sonia Watt
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THE family of a lollipop man who died after being hit by a car said they don’t feel justice has been done after an inquest ruled it was a tragic accident.

Relatives of Ray Elsmore said they can never accept the events that led to the grandfather’s death could not have been avoided.

But Coroner David Horsley said it would have been ‘difficult for anyone’ to see the 82-year-old standing in the road due to the dazzling glare of the sun on December 5, 2012.

The hearing at Portsmouth Guildhall was told Mr Elsmore was in his uniform and on his afternoon shift when he was hit by a Nissan Micra driven by Lauren Paul in Tempest Avenue, Waterlooville.

Toni Ponting said Ray was happy and talking about his family as he helped her to cross the road. She said he held out his lollipop stick in his right hand.

‘As I was looking back, I could see the car coming from behind him,’ she said.

‘The car scooped Mr Elsmore from behind. All I can remember is a really loud crack.’

Karen Bzhetji was driving behind the Micra and said the sun was ‘blinding’. She said she did not see Mr Elsmore.

The inquest heard several people ran to help Mr Elsmore, including Christopher Baker, who helped deliver first aid.

Mr Elsmore, of Florentine Way, Waterlooville, died at Southampton General Hospital at 5.30pm from chest and head injuries.

Miss Paul, 23, from Waterlooville, said she did not see Mr Elsmore until he hit the windscreen.

‘I was looking down my bonnet on to the road, I was concentrating so much on the road,’ she said.

Mr Elsmore’s grandaughter Kerry Brown said her grandfather ‘had legs’ and asked why Miss Paul had not seen them.

Miss Paul replied: ‘That’s the question I ask myself every day.’

She said she would have done ‘everything she could’ to prevent the tragedy.

Collision investigator Ed Wilson said the car was travelling between 21mph and 28mph.

Mr Horsley said: ‘I think the main factor is the alignment of the setting sun to Tempest Avenue where the crossing was. It’s meant the driver has not seen Mr Elsmore.

‘The driver was quite a small person. The sun visor would have been of limited efficiency.

‘The fact the sun was shining at the angle it was would have made it difficult for anyone to see Mr Elsmore in these circumstances.

‘The driver, because of the sun, was looking down slightly – I think that was also a contributory factor. I have to conclude Mr Elsmore died due to a tragic accident.’

Miss Paul declined to speak to The News, but her father said it was a ‘tragic accident’.

Mr Elsmore’s daughter Yasmin Clarke, from Horndean, said: ‘We don’t feel like we have any justice. It can be an accident, but we think it could have been avoided.’

Diane Elsmore, Mr Elsmore’s daughter-in-law, said: ‘We don’t have any more answers than we did two years ago.’

Detectives close the case on death of lollipop man

POLICE confirmed the case had been closed and they were no longer investigating.

Lauren Paul had always denied causing death by careless driving and the jury during the first trial were unable to reach a verdict.

A different jury was unable to reach a verdict during a retrial earlier this year. The Crown Prosecution Service has said Miss Paul will not face another trial.

Meanwhile, safety improvements have been made at the school crossing, including more road markings.