Road death man over drink limit

A MAN who was killed as he crossed the road was nearly three times the legal alcohol limit for driving.

Brian Ainscough had also taken heroin and diazepam before he was struck by a car driven by Carl Morris, an inquest heard.

Forensic scientist Emma Durkin said the combination of drink and drugs in Mr Ainscough’s system could have impaired his balance and his ability to judge oncoming traffic.

Mr Ainscough, 30, of Wordsworth Avenue, Wheatley Hill, was killed on July 5, last year, as he attempted to cross the B1279 road between Wheatley Hill and Shotton Colliery.

Mr Morris, 20, of Shinwell Crescent, Thornley, told the hearing he was on his way to work at just before 3pm when Mr Ainscough stepped into the 60mph speed limit road.

“I was doing 63mph,” said Mr Morris. “As I got close, he just came out, I tried to swerve but hit him in the middle of the road.

“He was trying to run across, if he had stepped back this might not have happened.”

The inquest in Crook heard Mr Ainscough had used an unofficial path across a field and was probably trying to cross the road diagonally to reach the single roadside footpath.

“It’s a recognised short cut for pedestrians going from Shotton Colliery to Wheatley Hill,” said collision investigator PC Michael Baxter of Durham Police.

“Mr Ainscough was thrown about 40m, and I calculate an impact speed of between 49mph and 52mph.

“I calculate the car would have been about two feet to the right of the centre line at the point of impact.”

North Durham coroner Andrew Tweddle, who recorded a verdict of accidental death, said: “I visited the scene with PC Baxter to give me a better understanding of what may have happened.

“It is not the function of the coroner’s court to apportion blame, but to find out what happened.

“From the evidence, it is impossible to draw any other conclusion than this was an accident.”

l Carl Morris is charged with causing a death while driving a Citroen Picasso for which he was not insured.

The case is due to be heard by Peterlee Magistrates on August 24.