Pensioner died of her injuries in Seaford car crash

A woman has paid tribute to her mother and ‘best friend’ who died after being involved in a collision with a car last November.

Toni Rolls, 83, of South Coast Road, Telscombe Cliffs, died on the A259 at Seaford on Wednesday November 20 2013, an inquest heard.

In a tribute, her daughter Eccy de Jonge said: “When I published my books and articles it was Toni who was my staunchest critic and my best friend. She will be sorely missed.

“We spoke and texted every day and saw each other at least every fortnight. Although retired, she saw life as a gift.

“Age never stopped Toni doing anything she wanted to do - she designed her own house in her 30s, lived on the road in a motor caravan in her 50s and took up the martial art of Aikido at aged 60 gaining her black belt at 70.”

The inquest, held at Eastbourne Magistrates’ Court on Thursday (June 26), was told that Ms Rolls got off a bus on the A259 after realising she was on the wrong bus.

She attempted to cross the road, but was involved in collision with a Ford Fiesta being driven by John Godfrey.

Giving evidence, Mr Godfrey said another pedestrian, Peter Philpott, had crossed the road before Ms Rolls.

Mr Godfrey said: “I saw him get onto the central reservation, and out of the corner of my eye I saw someone else run out.

“I heard her hit the car and that is when I fully pressed down on the brake.

“I saw the windshield smash - there was contact between her and the windshield and that is when I knew something horrible had happened.”

PC Ian Lumbard, of Sussex Police’s road policing unit, said evidence suggested Ms Rolls stepped out behind the bus and in view of the traffic, but she could not be seen as it was a dark evening and she was wearing dark clothing.

However, Mr Godfrey and other witnesses believed she had stepped onto the road from in front of the bus, out of view of the drivers.

Mr Philpott said: “I crossed the road and when I got to the middle of the road I just felt there was somebody behind me.

“That was when I turned around and saw the accident.

“She was moving quite quickly, I thought at the speed she was moving there was very little chance of her missing the car.

“I went to the driver - he was sobbing and distraught.”

A post mortem examination revealed the cause of death to be multiple injuries.

East Sussex coroner Alan Craze concluded that her death was caused by a road traffic accident.