Brynmawr woman, 86, died after being run over by a reversing truck
AN inquest hearing was told of how an 86-year-old woman was hit from behind and run over by a reversing tipper truck before the driver sped from the scene. Sheila Skuse, of Brynmawr, who had been for lunch in the town with friends, suffered serious leg, pelvis and rib injuries in the incident on the afternoon of June 24 2018. She died in hospital in the early hours of the following morning.
Mrs Skuse’s family subsequently paid fulsome tribute to “a warm and welcoming lady with a ready smile for everyone” whose death had left “a chasm in our lives”. Ford Transit Tipper driver John Smith, of Nantyglo, was sentenced to 26 weeks in prison – in March last year – after he was convicted, following a trial, of failing to stop and of using a defective vehicle. Assistant Coroner David Regan was told during the inquest at the coroner’s court in Newport, that Mrs Skuse, who walked with the aid of a frame, was knocked over in an alley behind Brynmawr’s Market Hall.
In statements, witnesses described hearing a bang and seeing her lying in the road. Mr Smith had got out of his truck after the collision, but one witness – Olivia Gardner – described him as having “made off at speed”. He attended a police station later that day, when he was arrested.
A number of faults were subsequently found on the truck, including wrongly adjusted wing mirrors. READ MORE: PC Richard Wyatt, of the Gwent Police forensic collision investigation unit, said properly set wing mirrors are the responsibility of the driver – and he had “no doubt” the driver would have been aware he was running over something, as he would have felt the back axle lift.
Mr Regan was told that Smith was initially arrested on suspicion of having caused serious injury by dangerous driving, and following Mrs Skuse’s death he was re-arrested on suspicion of having caused death by dangerous driving, though he was ultimately charged with failing to stop after an accident, and with using a defective vehicle. Mrs Skuse suffered multiple injuries, including a fractured left femur, fractured pelvis, fractured left wrist, and 22 rib fractures. Mr Regan said she “would have been in plain sight of the van’s nearside mirror had it been looked at at any stage”.
He concluded that Mrs Skuse died as a result of a road traffic collision.