Porlock woman's death caused by accident months earlier, inquest hears

The Old Municipal Building in Taunton where the inquest was held.

The Old Municipal Building in Taunton where the inquest was held.

First published in News

A WOMAN from Porlock died from pneumonia and other medical complications caused by a car collision seven months earlier, an inquest heard.

Daphne Sims, 83, died on June 20 this year at Musgrove Park Hospital, having been involved in a collision on November 29 last year which left her paralysed from the neck down.

West Somerset coroner Michael Rose heard how Mrs Sims’ husband, Peter, was driving along the A39 through Bilbrook towards Minehead, in a Renault Scenic before he started to veer towards the other side of the road.

At approximately 2.40pm, Mr Sims hit a Vauxhall Van driven by Derrick Martin on the other side of the road.

Mr Martin explained how he could see the car veering towards him and tried to move over as far as he could.

He said: “There was a stream of traffic the other side. I was driving at a good speed and I could see this car edging closer to the white line. I moved over as much as I could and hit a stone wall at the same time as the car hit me.”

Mr Sims, who has since had his driving licence revoked by the DVLA, said he could not recall what had happened.

In a police report, he said he started to realise that he was edging closer to the white line but that it was too late to do anything about it.

However, he told Mr Rose: “I don’t remember saying that. I remember a strange feeling in the back of my head and after that I have no recollection.

“It was very strange and I feel that contributed to the accident.”

A report from Mr Sims’ GP, Dr Jonathon Driscoll, of Irnham Lodge in Minehead, said although Mr Sims was on a number of different medications, there was nothing that should have affected his driving.

PC Andrew Grigg, of Avon and Somerset Police, said there was nothing wrong with the cars or road to have caused a collision.

He said: “The cars were both examined but there were no problems or defects with either car to have caused an accident.

“Although the road was damp, there was no ice or surface water which would have caused a collision.”

Mr Rose heard how Mr and Mrs Sims were on their way back from Taunton following a hospital appointment at Nuffield Hospital.

Only three weeks before the collision Mrs Sims had undergone a knee operation.

It had caused her discomfort so she sat in the rear passenger seat in order to rest her leg between the front two seats.

Following the collision she spent time in Frenchay and Musgrove Park Hospitals before moving to a care home.

She started to develop problems with swallowing and was transferred to Musgrove Park Hospital where it was revealed she had pneumonia.

Mr Rose concluded accidental death at the inquest at the Old Municipal Building in Taunton last Thursday (November 21).

He said: “This was a tragic accident and I extend deep sympathy to you, Mr Sims, and your two children – you had a long and happy marriage.

“The death of Daphne Sims was accidental, caused by asphyxia pneumonia and other medical complications as a result of an injured neck.”

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