Belfast Telegraph

Driver weeps at inquest into death of woman (91)

By Donna Deeney

A motorist who fatally injured a 91-year-old woman wept in court yesterday as a pathologist's report detailing the pensioner's injuries was read out.

Paige Montgomery was travelling at approximately 25mph when she struck Ann Mooney as she crossed Ann Street in Ballycastle with her wheeled walking aid, an inquest heard.

Mrs Mooney sustained severe head injuries and died a short time later at Causeway Hospital on November 1, 2015.

None of Mrs Mooney's three daughters were in court. A PSNI family liaison officer told Coroner Patrick McGurgan they were too distressed to attend.

The driver and her passenger told the hearing they were unaware of Mrs Mooney's presence until the moment of impact.

There were no other witnesses to the collision. However, a forensic scientist was able to provide an explanation of what had happened.

Lindsay McCormick, who specialises in road traffic collisions, said Mrs Mooney had stepped off the pavement with her wheeled walking aid in front of her and was in the middle of the carriageway when she was struck.

Tests indicated that Ms Montgomery was travelling at around 25mph.

Ms McCormick said the position of the sun would have cast shadows from nearby buildings across the road, reducing the driver's ability to see someone on the road.

She explained that tests she carried out the following day showed it would have been difficult to see someone on the carriageway "even on a dull day".

Mr McGurgan said the lack of witnesses to the collision "complicated" the inquest, but he agreed with the evidence of Ms McCormick that "in balance of probability" the sun had been a "major factor".

Addressing the driver, who had passed her driving test seven months before the accident, Mr McGurgan said it was "obvious" how much the collision had affected her.

He added: "You are going to have to bear the cross of having been involved in this collision for the rest of your life. You survived and Mrs Montgomery did not, but that does not mean you were not traumatised."

A police constable who attended the scene told the court no charges had been brought against Ms Montgomery, who had no alcohol in her system and whose car had no defects that would have contributed to the collision.

Mr McGurgan found that Mrs Mooney died from severe head injuries sustained when she was struck by the vehicle. He also accepted that the "sun was a factor in the driver's visibility".

Belfast Telegraph

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