Crash tragedy on family's journey to Leeds hospital to thank nurses

A family's journey to a  Leeds hospital to thank nurses who had cared for a relative ended in tragedy when the car's braking system failed and it crashed, an inquest heard.

Wednesday, 18th March 2020, 5:00 pm

William Moore, 71, was driving his daughter Diane to Leeds General Infirmary to thank nurses who had cared for her late husband after his death at the hospital, Wakefield Coroner's Court was told.

Mr Moore's 77-year-old wife, also called Diane, was front seat passenger in the VW Passat and his daughter Diane and son James were on the back seat when the crash happened at around 10.30am on Saturday February 2 2019.

The Passat struck the back of a Vauxhall car stood at a traffic light junction on the slip road off the A64 York Road with Marsh Lane in Leeds.

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The A64 York Road, Leeds. Image: Google

Mr Moore's wife Diane, who had existing health problems, suffered multiple rib fractures and fractured sternum and arm.

She was taken to Leeds General Infirmary, where she died six days later on February 8.

The inquest heard William Moore told police his daughter's husband had died at the hospital on December 2, adding: "I was driving towards the hospital to to take my daughter to see the nurses."

Mr Moore also told police: "I put my foot on the brake, I went to put my foot down and it came up pretty fast because there was nothing there."

Senior Coroner Kevin McLoughlin said Mr Moore said he had also used the handbrake in a bid to stop the car.

Mr Moore told police that before the crash he had had "no issues whatsoever" with the car's brakes.

The inquest heard he had set off from Guisborough in Cleveland at around 8.45am on February 2.

Andrew Cross, a forensic collision investigator with West Yorkshire Police, examined the Passat and said the servo mechanism for the brakes was not working.

Describing how the servo mechanism operates, Mr Cross said: "It multiples the amount of force being created compared to what you are pressing."

Mr Cross said it takes a "hell of a lot of pressure" on the brakes from the driver when the servo does not work.

Mr Cross said a vacuum pump produces a vacuum for the servo and the vacuum can stop working immediately.

Mr Cross said: "The vacuum pump, for some unknown reason, has failed."

Detective sergeant Alison Webb, of West Yorkshire Police's major collision enquiry team, said: "I came to the conclusion and the decision, which I felt was the right one, that this matter was to be referred to the coroner and not for criminal prosecution."

A post mortem revealed Mrs Moore from Guisborough, Cleveland, died from bronchial pneumonia due to rib and sternum fractures.

The chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder she was suffering from was a significant contributory factor along with heart disease and osteoporosis.

Mr McLoughlin said: "This was an accident, I will record a verdict of accidental death as the conclusion."