A CYCLIST who tried to ‘hug’ a Bradford pensioner to safety as they collided and fell onto a busy road has been told by a coroner he should have a completely clear conscience about the tragic accident.

Great-grandmother Jean Wellings, 71, suffered a catastrophic brain injury after striking her head and ending up with the cyclist and his bike on top of her.

An inquest in Bradford on Thursday heard she had been crossing Halifax Road close to her home in Queen Street, Buttershaw, on her way to the shops when the accident happened, on November 1 last year.

Passing motorists and a pedestrian had tried to help Mrs Wellings until paramedics and police arrived. Surgeons at Leeds General Infirmary carried out emergency surgery for a bleed on her brain and put her on a ventilator. In accordance with her family’s wishes, after she was taken off the machine, she was taken home to receive palliative care. Mrs Wellings passed away from bronco pneumonia on November 20, almost three weeks after the accident, surrounded by her loved ones.

The hearing was told how cyclist James Ollivant, from Halifax, had less than one second to avoid hitting Mrs Wellings, who had been hidden from his view by cars waiting to turn right.

Mr Ollivant, who was visibly upset as he gave evidence in the witness box, said he had tried to shout to warn her.

“I shouted but she didn’t even glance at me. I went left and that was pretty much the direction she was going as well and we collided,” he said.

“At the last moment I was putting the bike to the far side but I was clipped into the pedals. I almost hugged her as we fell, I was trying to cup the back of her head with my hands.”

Mrs Wellings’ grandson Liam Wilkinson asked: “Are you back on your bike?” to which Mr Ollivant replied yes. “Jean would be happy,” replied Mr Wilkinson.

Witnesses said there was nothing dangerous about how Mr Ollivant had been riding his bike, a computer from which showed he had been travelling at between 10 and 15mph in the four seconds before the crash.

Assistant Bradford coroner Oliver Longstaff said: “There has not been a word of criticism about Mr Ollivant from the family or from the police. It seems to me that, putting the various threads of evidence together, Mrs Wellings was taking advantage of cars waiting to turn and stepped out unaware of the advent of Mr Ollivant. There was nothing that could be done to prevent the incident. He tried to hold her upright,to his credit, but sadly a fall did occur. This was a tragic accident.”

He told Mr Ollivant: “You should leave here with a completely clear conscience.”