Police officer driving car that struck and killed tragic mother out running in Leeds, inquest told

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A MOTHER out running in Leeds died after being struck by a car driven by a police community support officer travelling to work, an inquest heard.

Wakefield Coroner’s Court heard Rachel Watson, 43, was hit by a Vauxhall Corsa on the A6120 outer ring road near the junction with Tongue Lane at Moortown just before 10.30am on Saturday February 4.

Mrs Watson, of Edgerton Road, West Park, Leeds, was taken to Leeds General Infirmary where she was declared dead that night.

A post mortem revealed she had suffered brain and spinal injuries.

An inquest opening had previously heard Mrs Watson had left her home to go for a run at around 10am that morning and was following a training programme for a forthcoming half marathon.

Police community support officer Alexander L’Amie, 24, told the inquest he was driving to work in Bradford in his Vauxhall Corsa at between 60mph to 65mph in the right hand lane of the dual carriageway.

Mr L’Amie told police he first saw Miss Watson when he was eight to ten car lengths from her.

He told the inquest he “dabbed” his brakes to slow down after seeing Mrs Watson stood on the inside lane, around one foot away from the centre line marking.

Mr L’Amie said when he got close to Mrs Watson, she started to cross and he braked and steered the car towards the central reservation in an attempt to avoid her.

Forensic collision investigator Andrew Cross, said: “I consider the main contributing factor was the pedestrian failing to appreciate the oncoming Vauxhall.”

Mr Cross said Mr L’Amie had “little or no opportunity to take avoiding action.”

Recording a verdict that Mrs Watson died in a road traffic collision, area coroner Jonathan Leach, said: “I’m satisfied on the evidence that for some reason Rachel entered the road when vehicles were coming towards her.

“Why she did so is unknown. The most likely possibility is that she didn’t appreciate the speed which the vehicles were travelling. I’m satisfied that Mr L’Amie had no opportunity to avoid the collision.”

Following the tragedy, Mrs Watson’s family paid tribute to her in a statement.

They said: “We are completely devastated by the loss of Rachel, a devoted wife, mother, step mum, daughter and sister.

“Rachel was beautiful, warm, generous and kind - nothing was too much trouble for her family or her friends. She also had a great sense of fun and would light up any gathering.

“All those who knew Rachel will share our sadness at her tragic death, which came far too young, but she will be particularly missed by Nick, her husband, and the children.”

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