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No 'definitive' proof great-gran was hit by police van, inquest jury told.

Byline: thomas deacon Reporter

A 93-YEAR-OLD great-grandmother died from a head injury after falling on a busy road, an inquest heard.

Winifred Greaves died in hospital on December 9, 2018, after the incident in Cardiff the day before.

A jury delivered their conclusion on the second day of an inquest at Pontypridd Coroner's Court after looking at whether she was hit by a police van involved in the incident.

The van was being driven at about 20mph in Whitchurch by an experienced South Wales Police officer, when he spotted her "around 10m" away in the middle of the road before slamming on the brakes and swerving.

Yesterday, the inquest heard evidence from the crash scene investigator, who found there was no "definitive" proof Ms Greaves had been struck by the van in Merthyr Road.

It previously heard Ms Greaves was wearing dark clothing on the night of the incident, and sometimes "took risks" crossing the road.

The police van was being driven by PC Paul Donoghue, who swerved and shouted "f***ing hell" when he spotted her in the road.

Crash scene investigator PC Christopher Street attended the scene at about 6.50pm on the day of the incident, and described the conditions as "poor".

He said: "It was not very pleasant driving conditions, or conditions to be out at all really."

Speaking from the witness box, Pc Street said there was no "definitive" evidence Ms Greaves had been hit by the police van.

He told the jury that while the van was covered in various marks, they were all covered in a "light film" of dirt, which suggested they were not fresh.

Assistant coroner Rachel Knight asked: "There is no mark on that van to suggest an impact?" Pc Street replied: "Not definitively, no."

He also examined Ms Greaves' clothing for signs of impact.

PC Street said: "My overall impression of her clothing was that they were clean. I was almost surprised really.

"Normally when we examine clothing in these cases we would expect to see a bit more [including blood]."

From examining markings on the road surface, PC Street said he estimated the van was travelling around 15mph when the brakes were applied.

He added that if there was contact it was "likely to be glancing or low speed".

In delivering their verdict the foreman of the jury said: "On December 8, Winifred Greives was involved in an accident on Merthyr Road, Whitchurch, Cardiff.

"She sustained a head injury following a fall crossing the road. She was taken to the University Hospital of Wales, where her condition deteriorated and she passed away on December 9 at the hospital."

The jury, made up of five women and six men, recorded a conclusion of accidental death.

Speaking after the inquest, Ms Greaves' family said: "Our mother was a lovely lady and we are all greatly saddened by the incident, but we have always believed this was an accident. We are grateful to the coroner and the jury for everything."

In a statement on Monday, Ms Greaves' son, Alan, said his mother was married to Cliff Greaves and was a mum of four who had 10 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. After the incident doctors at the University Hospital of Wales found the only visible injury was an "abrasion" to her head. The cause of death was recorded as traumatic sub-arachnoid hemorrhage and subdural haematoma.
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 17, 2019
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