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No explanation as to why man chose to walk ‘heedless’ of traffic, says coroner
Mystery remains as to why a man chose a precarious path across a busy Bradford road instead of a nearby pedestrian crossing, an inquest heard.
Assistant Bradford deputy coroner Dr Dominic Bell said it would be too difficult to conclude that Mustafa Uddin’s death was an accident and instead concluded that he died from a road traffic collision.
He said there was no explanation why Mr Uddin had chosen to cross that route in the way he did.
Yesterday’s inquest heard how the 63-year-old, who had been wearing dark clothing, had been seen walking slowly across Great Horton Road in dark, murky, wet conditions with his back slightly turned to oncoming traffic just before Christmas last year, CCTV footage also showed how he had walked “heedless” of traffic into the road and that cars had passed behind him as he crossed half-way without appearing to have slowed down or seen him.
Elaine House, who had been waiting for a bus on the opposite side of the road that day on December 21 last year at about 7am, said: “He was not concentrating on the job in hand, crossing the road. He didn’t seem to look at all, he just walked out to the centre of the road, he paused then set off again right into the path of the car.”
Driver of the Citroen Saxo involved in the collision Brian Heron, who had been driving within the speed limit, had been taking his usual route to work when the impact happened.
He told the inquest: “I didn’t see anyone, something came through the windscreen, I slammed the brakes on straight away. I just froze then got on the phone to the police and ambulance.”
No police action was taken against his driving.
The impact had thrown Mr Uddin, who lived in nearby Frank Street, 13 metres down the road where he landed, suffering the extensive head injuries which killed him. He was pronounced dead at Bradford Royal Infirmary.
Collision investigators carried out a reconstruction in darkness to piece together how the incident happened.
The only circumstance they could not recreate was the rain, said investigator Robert Crispin.
He reported how Mr Uddin’s dark clothing, the glare of streetlights, the wet road surface and of oncoming traffic’s headlights would have made visibility poor.
He said: “At times the pedestrian almost seemed invisible. It’s possible that the earliest time the driver could have perceived the pedestrian would have been too late to stop and avoid a collision. The conditions that day would have been worse than we recreated.
“There was a pedestrian crossing 60 metres away from the collision for him to have used more safely. The pedestrian had crossed heedless of oncoming traffic. CCTV suggested it was a pretty precarious path he had chosen.”