Peacehaven man dies after being hit by reversing car

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A man died in hospital after surgery caused by a car reversing into him in a carpark.

Charles Butcher died at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath on January 19 this year, after having emergency surgery.

An inquest at Eastbourne Town Hall on Thursday (October 22), heard Mr Butcher, a retired factory worker from St Davids Courts on Balcombe Road in Peacehaven, died from a cardiac arrest following surgery.

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The 87-year-old was walking on the pavement away from Meridian surgery in Peacehaven on January 17, when a car reversed into him – knocking him to the floor, fracturing his right arm and right hip.

Eastbourne Town Hall (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-190425-155105008Eastbourne Town Hall (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-190425-155105008
Eastbourne Town Hall (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-190425-155105008

The Toyota Avensis, driven by 86-year-old Ernest Garner, was reversing out of the space when it hit Mr Butcher.

Surgery staff attended the scene before the ambulance arrived and took Mr Butcher to hospital, the inquest heard.

Dr Irma Murjikneli, who was working at the Meridian surgery that day, said Mr Butcher remained ‘awake, with a good pulse, he was conscious, and was talking coherently’.

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A man sat in the carpark in his van at the time, Mr Stuart Williams, said he saw everything that happened.

He said, “The car wasn’t moving fast, it gently nudged the man from behind.

“The pedestrian should have been visible to the driver if he had been looking properly.”

Suzanne Smith, the passenger in the Toyota that hit Mr Butcher, said, “I didn’t see the gentleman at any point before Ernie reversed.”

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Ernest Garner, the driver of the car, said, “He came out of nowhere, the first I heard was people banging on the car telling me I’d hit someone.”

Mr Butcher was taken to hospital following the collision, and after having a scan, was taken for surgery on January 18.

Dr Ashley Fegan-Earl reported that the surgery was ‘uneventful’, but Mr Butcher ‘deteriorated and died after surgery’.

The inquest heard that the collision caused stress to Mr Butcher, who was also suffering from high blood pressure and showed ‘some level of natural diseases’.

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Dr Fegan-Earl said, “Stress imposed can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.”

The inquest heard police attended the scene, and they concluded Mr Garner failed the eyesight test ‘with or without his glasses’.

As he was unable to meet the required standard of eyesight, Mr Garner’s license was revoked.

The case against Mr Garner accused of causing death by careless driving was dropped in March of this year.

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The inquest heard Mr Butcher’s death was due to cardio respiratory collapse due to fat embolism, resulting in a cardiac arrest in the early hours of January 19. East Sussex coroner Alan Craze ruled that Mr Butcher’s death was due to a road traffic collision, calling the incident ‘very tragic’.