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Taxi driver not to blame for Norwich death, inquest hears

08:22 30 November 2012

Norfolk coroner, William Armstrong, at the Coroner

Norfolk coroner, William Armstrong, at the Coroner's Court. Picture: Denise Bradley

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A Norwich taxi driver who was involved in a collision with a pedestrian who later died was “totally and utterly blameless” for the “catastrophe” an inquest has heard.

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Jose Joaquim Goncalves, 31, of Aspland Road, off Riverside Road, Norwich, was pronounced dead at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge, on July 9 this year following a collision with a taxi on Riverside Road, Norwich, on June 24. An inquest held in Norwich yesterday heard that Mr Goncalves, a factory worker, who was born in Lisbon, Portugal, died as a result of a traumatic brain injury following the crash, which happened at 1.10am.

Peter Bromley, a taxi driver, said he was driving along Riverside Road towards Thorpe Station on June 24 when he became aware of a figure about a quarter of the way into the road, walking towards the station. Mr Bromley, who slowed, said the figure turned round two to three times before he “put his arms out like a scarecrow”, prompting him to give the figure a wide berth as he drove slowly around him. He said it was a “mystery” where he went from there, but heard a noise and noticed the wing mirror had come in before looking in his rear view mirror and noticing a figure in the road.

Another taxi driver, Rodney Pearce, said he had driven down Riverside Road at about 12.50pm and had come across a man in the middle of the road “waving his arms about”.

Liliana Rocha had been with Mr Goncalves, who suffered from epilepsy and was on medication, that day. She told the inquest he had consumed lager and whisky and was “a bit drunk”. She said he left her house to walk back to his home at about 12.15am.

Norfolk coroner William Armstrong, pictured, told an emotional Mr Bromley he was “totally and utterly blameless” and said “there was nothing you could have done to have avoided this catastrophe”.

Recording a verdict that Mr Goncalves died as a result of a road traffic collision, Mr Armstrong added there was “no escaping” that he died as a result of his own “bizarre” actions and “reckless behaviour”.

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