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Grandmother crushed to death by her own car

A devoted grandmother was fatally injured in a freak accident when her car reversed over her as she waited to pick up her grandson from school.

Ann Gray (67), from Collins Avenue in Santry, Dublin, suffered multiple traumatic injuries when the wheel of her Ford Fiesta car reversed over her chest at Millbourne Avenue in Drumcondra on June 13 last year.

Dublin Coroner's Court heard that Mrs Gray was parked near St Patrick's Primary School at around 1pm, waiting to collect her grandson, Lee, aged seven.

Her husband, Barry Gray, said that his wife was an excellent driver and went to collect their grandson every day. It was not unusual for her to arrive early, park and wait until school finished, he said.

The jury was shown CCTV footage of the incident, showing Mrs Gray parked near the school for more than 25 minutes. The car goes out of view for 50 seconds but is then seen reversing into the picture.

Mrs Gray can be seen outside the car being dragged backwards by the open door. She loses her footing as the car takes a sharp turn and falls beneath the front wheel as it reverses into a wall.

Mrs Gray was conscious at the scene and told paramedics attending to her that the car had gone over her.

She was taken to the Mater Hospital; however, she suffered a cardiac arrest just before arrival and attempts at resuscitation failed. She died as a result of severe injuries sustained when her chest was compressed by the car.

Speaking to the Irish Independent after the inquest, Mr Gray said his wife was a devoted grandmother who was very involved with her only grandchild, Lee James Gray.

"She was waiting to pick him up from school that day. She had just the one grandchild and she thought he was beautiful, he couldn't be better," he said.

Gardai examined the Ford Fiesta and found no defects. However, Sergeant Michael Higgins said that as he tested the vehicle he found that when the handbrake is only partially applied and the car is in reverse, it will move when the ignition is turned on.

CCTV footage clearly showed Mrs Gray was outside the car when the incident started. Gardai believe that she may have leaned in and turned on the ignition either to use the cigarette lighter or turn on the radio and when she did so the car went into reverse, taking her with it.

Gardai told Coroner Dr Brian Farrell that the message arising from the accident is that people should always place their car in neutral when parked and apply the clutch when turning on the ignition. The jury returned a verdict of death by misadventure.

Belfast Telegraph