AN INQUEST hearing has heard how an elderly couple were knocked down on a road in Cwmbran, seconds after a car stopped because its driver suspected they were going to try to cross right in front of her.

Seventy-nine year-old Alan James, of Ty Newydd House, Pontnewydd, Cwmbran, died, and his wife Myrna was injured, when they were hit by a car coming in the opposite direction.

The incident happened in Commercial Street, Pontnewydd, Cwmbran, at around 5.45pm on December 4, 2017. Mr James died in hospital that evening.


The hearing in Newport was told Mr James and his wife had been out for their regular walk and to the Oddfellows pub in Pontnewydd that afternoon, and were heading home.

Mrs James, in a statement, said they decided to cross the road at the start of the bridge over the railway, where Commercial Street becomes Station Road.

Mrs James had looked left for traffic, and her husband had looked right, and they had begun to cross.

She said he had then said "quick Myrn, there's a car coming" and she had felt him pull her round to the right.

In a statement, Olivia Natale, of Pontnewydd, said she had been approaching in her car and remembered saying "Oh my God, are they going to cross?" when she saw Mr and Mrs James at the kerbside.

She did not recall them looking before they started to cross. They were holding hands.

She had been going at around 20mph, she said, and had stopped for them, when she saw another car coming in the opposite direction.

Ms Natale said it had "come from nowhere", she she felt it was coming fast.

"There was nowhere for them (Mr and Mrs James) to go," she said.

The driver of the car that hit the couple, Gerald Hobbs, was cleared earlier this year of causing Mr James' death by careless driving.

Gwent Police forensic collision investigator Dean Burnett told the hearing that Mr Hobbs had been driving at 23-28mph at the time of the collision, and was in a 30mph zone, having just come out of a 20mph zone.

His speed, said Mr Burnett, had been consistent with a gentle acceleration out of the 20mph zone.

The road was damp at the time, and though it was dark, the lighting was good.


Mr Burnett said Mr Hobbs had said he did not see the couple, and had only reacted after hearing a bang.

"He explained that he was dazzled by headlights and as he was dazzled, he hit them," said Mr Burnett.

He added he was of the opinion that there were no dazzles from headlights, but that when Mr and Mrs James stepped into the road "they would have been partially obscured by the headlights on Ms Natale's car", which had stopped on the other side.

Senior Coroner for Gwent Caroline Saunders said: "In the circumstances I do not consider they (Mr and Mrs James) crossed the road in an appropriately safe manner.

"Mr Hobbs failed to see them because they were obscured by the headlights on Olivia Natale's car.

"There is no other reason I can find for Mr Hobbs failing to see them."

Conclusion: Mr James died as a result of a road traffic collision.