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Grandmother was killed by car when she accidentally stepped into the road in a drunken haze

The Gazette Staff

A grandmother was run over and killed by a car after she accidentally stumbled into its path in a drunken haze whilst out celebrate getting a new job.

Factory packer Catherine Mulhall, 53, had just got out of a taxi near her home in Oldham, Greater Manchester, on Friday October 5 2018, when it dropped off near her home but she then lost her balance when she inadvertently bumped into a neighbours wall.

Factory packer Catherine Mulhall, 53, had just got out of a taxi near her home in Oldham, Greater Manchester, on Friday October 5 2018. She stepped back into the road to steady herself and was hit by a car. (Catherine pictured on right with daughter Elizabeth on the left)

Factory packer Catherine Mulhall, 53, had just got out of a taxi near her home in Oldham, Greater Manchester, on Friday October 5 2018. She stepped back into the road to steady herself and was hit by a car. (Catherine pictured on right with daughter Elizabeth on the left)

Factory packer Catherine Mulhall, 53, had just got out of a taxi near her home in Oldham, Greater Manchester, on Friday October 5 2018. She stepped back into the road to steady herself and was hit by a car. (Catherine pictured on right with daughter Elizabeth on the left)

Mrs Mulhall stepped backwards into the road momentarily to steady herself only to be hit a split second later by an oncoming black Ford C-Max vehicle.

She suffered fatal head injuries in the impact and died the following day in hospital with tests showing she would have been more than four times the alcohol limit for driving.

Toxicology tests showed Mrs Mulhall had 335 milligrams of alcohol per 100 mililitres of blood in her system. The legal alcohol limit for driving is 80mg. 

The driver of the Ford, engineer Jason Parker, 46, tested positive for cannabis following the accident but police accepted he had no chance of avoiding Mrs Mulhall. He was subsequently banned from the roads for 20 months for drug driving.

An inquest heard the tragedy occurred after Mrs Mulhall, who had three children and nine grandchildren, had been out at Harry’s Bar near her home in Oldham, Greater Manchester. She was thought to be still wearing her work hi-visibility jacket.

Haroon Yassir, a doorman at the bar, told the Heywood inquest: ‘Catherine was happy and energetic and everyone in the pub knew who she was. On that evening she was friendly and had just finished her first week at a new job. She was happy and telling me about her new job and later she became intoxicated and myself and a friend walked her out to find her a taxi home.

‘We sat her by the bus stop but when she stood up she fell over. I asked her on a number of occasions if she was okay and wanted an ambulance and there was by luck a nurse nearby who tried to have a look at her but Catherine just said: ‘leave me alone I’m fine’ and she eventually got in a taxi.’

The tragedy occurred at 11pm after the taxi driver dropped off Mulhall on A627 Ashton Road opposite her home.

She suffered fatal head injuries when she was hit by an oncoming black Ford C-Max vehicle. The driver of the Ford, engineer Jason Parker, 46, tested positive for cannabis following the accident but police accepted he had no chance of avoiding Mrs Mulhall. He was subsequently banned from the roads for 20 months for drug driving

Detective Constable Edward Lister of Greater Manchester Police said: ‘CCTV showed Mrs Mulhall exiting the taxi and crossing the road. She was unsteady on her feet and stumbling along the pavement. She bumped into a wall and then stumbles back in the other direction. She stumbles onto the road just 0.6 seconds prior to being struck by the vehicle.

‘There was not enough time for the driver to react and there was nothing at that point he could have done. It’s possible the taxi turning in the road obstructed his view of her crossing.

‘She was wearing a high visibility vest and her movements were very unpredictable as she was unsteady on her feet. Her movements were chaotic and unsteady and if Mr Parker had seen her he may have viewed her as a hazard and adapted his driving accordingly. By the time she ended up on the road he had no time to react.

‘Mr Parker tested positive for cannabis but he performed a fit test at the scene to ascertain his degree of impairment and he passed.’

Toxicology tests showed Mrs Mulhall had 335 milligrams of alcohol per 100 mililitres of blood in her system. The legal alcohol limit for driving is 80mg. (Catherine Mulhall pictured left with her daughter Elizabeth right)

Parker, from Failsworth, near Oldham had been loaned the Ford as a courtesy car as his own vehicle was in for repairs. The hearing was told he had been smoking cannabis on the evening before the accident and on the day itself.

He said: ‘That evening I went to the cinema with my friend. We smoked a joint in the car before going inside the cinema and I had one bottle of beer whilst watching the film. I felt fine and was not remotely intoxicated.

‘After the film we stopped at the drive through of McDonald’s which we ate in the car park then I left to drive my friend home. I can’t remember if we had music but if we did it was on a low volume. We were chatting but not distractedly and I was going 20-30mph.

‘I recall seeing an ambulance approaching from the opposite direction but it passed us and I proceeded as normal. Then suddenly my friend shouted out and there was a flash of yellow. I heard ‘bang, bang, bang’ on the side of the car and my friend shouted ‘I think you’ve just hit someone.’

‘I stopped the car and got out and saw someone who was badly injured and I went back into the driver’s seat and got my phone and called 999. I tested positive for cannabis but she came from out of nowhere and I’ve struggled to sleep since. I didn’t see anyone in yellow before the collision. I just didn’t see her crossing the road.’

But Mrs Mulhall’s daughter Elizabeth told him: ‘There’s no way you did not see my f***ing mum that night.’

Returning a conclusion of road traffic collision, coroner Michael Salt said: ‘She was intoxicated but that is not unusual for people in Oldham on that Friday night. Sadly for her it happened this way. Had she stumbled seconds later she may well have avoided injury, got up and walked home’

She added: ‘Mum loved spending time with her grandchildren and would do anything for them. She was a very outgoing person and everyone who knew her loved her.

‘She was always up for a good time and had always worked since she was 16. On the night of the collision she was out celebrating after finishing her first full week at her new job. She got a taxi home and then it happened. Since it happened the entire family miss her a huge amount. Life won’t be the same without her.’ 

Returning a conclusion of road traffic collision, coroner Michael Salt said: ‘This was a tragic road traffic collision. She struggled to walk along the road in a normal fashion and losing her balance.

‘Mr Parker may have identified her as a hazard on the road due to her high visibility jacket but it may well have been the lights of the ambulance distracted him and he did not see her.

‘By the time she was on the road it was too late for him to react. She lurched onto the road and collided with him.

‘She was intoxicated but that is not unusual for people in Oldham on that Friday night. Sadly for her it happened this way. Had she stumbled seconds later she may well have avoided injury, got up and walked home.

Source : Mail Online

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