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Elderly widow who died after being hit by bin lorry in Market Place, Chalfont St Peter, would have been 'invisible' to …

An elderly widow who died after she was hit by a bin lorry in Chalfont St Peter would have been “invisible” to the driver as she crossed the road in front of him, an inquest heard this week. Pauline Bannerman, 71, was hit and killed on November 6 last year when she was crossing Market Square, close to the mini-roundabout with the High Street, to get to Barclay’s bank. The driver of the Serco waste collection lorry, William Fildew, did not realise what had happened until frantic passers-by waved at him to stop.

At an inquest into her death this week, witnesses relived the horrifying moment they saw Mrs Bannerman, who walked “slowly” with two sticks, go under the bin lorry at around 10.30am. Christopher Aldrich, who was waiting at the mini-roundabout to turn right into Market Square told how he saw Mrs Bannerman step off the kerb and into the road in front of the DAF truck, adding that there was “no way” the driver would have seen her. He said: “The woman didn’t appear to look to her right before she stepped into the road and the lorry hit her.

I saw her go down under the lorry as it continued to move. I tooted my horn and the lorry started to move forward again and we started to shout to him to stop. It all seemed to happen in slow motion.”

Mr Aldrich said he went to Mrs Bannerman, who was under the back wheels of the lorry, “in the hope he could do something” but said he thought she would have passed away when she was first hit. He added: “I don’t think the driver would have been able to see her. She could only have been about a foot away and he was rolling slowly towards the roundabout.

There are two pedestrian crossings in the area and she wasn’t using either of them.” Mr Fildew, the driver, told the inquest he drove the same route to collect recycling in the nearby Church Lane car park three times a week and was familiar with the area. He recalled how, as he approached the roundabout, he heard a “hissing” sound and was planning to manoeuvre out of Market Square and into a parking space so he could assess what the problem was.

He only realised that something was wrong when pedestrians were waving their hands and pointing at his rear wheels. When he got out the cab, he realised immediately what had happened. A post-mortem examination found that Mrs Bannerman died of multiple injuries.

Gary Baldwin, collision investigator at Thames Valley Police, said Mr Fildew would have been “very lucky” to have been able to see Mrs Bannerman in front of his vehicle, adding: “It is all a terrible coincidence.

When Mr Fildew’s blind spot moved, she moved with it until she was at the point where she was so close to the vehicle there was no chance the driver could see her.”

Senior coroner for Buckinghamshire, Crispin Butler, said for the most part, Mrs Bannerman was “invisible” to Mr Fildew and ruled that the pensioner died as a result of a road traffic collision.

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