Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Grandad Died on Visit to His Wife's Grave

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Grandad Died on Visit to His Wife's Grave

Article excerpt

Byline: Katie Dickinson Reporter @@KATIEJDICKINSON

A "TREASURED" grandad died after being struck by a car as he crossed the road to visit his late wife's grave, an inquest heard.

James Andersen Semmence, known as Jimmy, suffered multiple injuries in the collision on Victoria Road West, Hebburn, on November 16 last year.

An inquest at Newcastle Coroners Court heard the 88-year-old had been on the way to visit his wife Bernie's grave at Hebburn Cemetery.

After getting off the bus Mr Semmence started crossing Victoria Road West but was hit by a red Ford Fiesta after he stepped out in front of it.

Several witnesses described seeing the pensioner standing in the middle of the road looking "unsteady on his feet" before the collision.

The inquest heard the driver of the Ford Fiesta, who was driving below the speed limit, slammed on her brakes immediately but was unable to avoid the crash.

Giving evidence at the inquest, collision investigator PC David Martin said Mr Semmence had left his home on Lilac Avenue, Hebburn, before getting the 88 bus to Victoria Road West to visit his wife's grave.

PC Martin said: "The safest route would have been to cross on South Drive, around 100 metres north of the bus stop, and then Victoria Road West, where there are crossing points for pedestrians with a refuge in the centre of the road. Mr Semmence had chosen not to do this."

One witness, Mr Johnson, described seeing Mr Semmence standing in the crossing hatch in the middle of the road.

PC Martin said: "He said he did not consider this out of the ordinary, he sees people doing it all the time due to the large distance between crossing points."

Mr Johnson said Mr Semmence "appeared to be unsteady on his feet" while another witness said he was "tottering in the road as if unsure whether to cros. …

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