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Wickhambrook: Accidental death verdict in inquest of Susan Tovey, who was run over by her own car

PUBLISHED: 17:31 05 March 2014 | UPDATED: 23:18 05 March 2014

Archant

A friendly neighbour involved in a tragic accident where a 74-year-old woman was killed by her own car has said he can “get on with his life a bit better” after a coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Susan Tovey died and Ray Featherstone was injured after Ms Tovey’s automatic car was left in reverse and Mr Featherstone released the handbrake.

The car careered backwards, knocking Ms Tovey to the ground and dragging Mr Featherstone along with it during the accident in Emily Frost Close, Wickhambrook, in October.

Mr Featherstone, 73, suffered bad cuts and bruises when he was dragged along with the car, which only stopped when it crashed into a house.

Mr Featherstone said this afternoon: “I’m really pleased it’s over. It does play on your mind and you worry about things. It’s eased me a bit - I can get on with my life a bit better.

“The sad thing about it is it brings back memories of when my wife died. When the paramedics came, they were trying to get Sue round, that brought it all back. That was horrible.

“I wish I’d never looked out of my window. It’s funny, when something like that happens you don’t feel the pain, I was just worried what was happening. I didn’t know, but there was blood streaming down my face.”

The tragic series of events started when Ms Tovey struggled to manoeuvre her car out of a tight space.

An inquest into her death, held in Bury St Edmunds today, heard that Mr Featherstone came to her aid and moved her car out slightly, before moving his to give Ms Tovey more room.

When she got back in the car to drive off, Ms Tovey was unable to release the handbrake, and asked Mr Featherstone to help.

With Ms Tovey out of the car, Mr Featherstone reached in and released the handbrake, but the automatic Ford Fiesta had been left in reverse gear and began moving backwards towards where Ms Tovey was standing.

Assistant coroner Dr Dan Sharpstone said it was unclear whether Ms Tovey was hit by the vehicle or fell as she tried to get out of the way.

A postmortem by Dr Karl Love, consultant pathologist at West Suffolk Hospital, found that Ms Tovey suffered a basal skull fracture and a left chest crush fracture with left plural haemorrhage.

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