Woman’s death in Dunstable ‘a tragic accident’

The scene at High Street South, Dunstable
The scene at High Street South, Dunstable

A woman’s death at a busy junction in Dunstable town centre was a tragic accident, a coroner has concluded.

Mary Rose Brennan, 61, died at the crossing at High Street South on September 14 when she was hit by a lorry.

At Tuesday’s inquest at Ampthill, witnesses described the junction as busy, with a long line of stationary traffic.

Witness Casey Dumpleton gave evidence that she had had to walk around the lorry at the crossing earlier because of where it was situated. When she spotted it again some minutes after the accident, it had moved on a few metres.

“I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had to walk around lorries blocking the crossing,” she said.

Eyewitness Susan Enright said she had signalled “don’t” to Mrs Brennan as the latter started crossing the road.

She said: “The lights were changing ... that’s when she started going, she started to walk fast. And as the brakes went off, that’s when she ran.”

It was then that Mrs Brennan “disappeared” said the witness.

“And as soon as the lorry stopped, I knew. We got across the road as quick as we could.

“The angle she came, it would have been impossible for anybody to see her.”

Ms Enright said she spent some time calming the driver, who was “hysterical” and remained at the scene as emergency services arrived.

PC Ian Marsh, forensic collision investigator said the vehicle was a Czech lorry with a left-hand driver and multiple mirrors.

He said the driver described checking mirrors before starting, but it would have been difficult to spot Mrs Brennan.

He said: “To cross when it’s not safe to do so... you risk cars coming around the corner ... also as in this instance you’ve got vehicles moving off because they’ve got right of way.”

Mrs Brennan’s family attended the inquest. One member said they accepted that it was “an accident with no-one to blame”.

Assistant coroner Martin Oldham concluded the death was an accident and offered his condolences the family.

He said: “This is very sad, it’s an unexpected death of a lady still in her prime. I don’t suppose we’ll ever know exactly the sequence of what happened.

“She died as the result of an accident. I’m just sorry that her life has ended in such a public way on the streets of Dunstable.”