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‘We will never have closure’ - Inquest unable to determine what caused hit-and-run victim’s fatal injury

PUBLISHED: 16:49 20 December 2018 | UPDATED: 16:56 20 December 2018

Jean Mitchell with her children Graham Mitchell and Allison Small. Picture: Nick Butcher

Jean Mitchell with her children Graham Mitchell and Allison Small. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

The family of hit-and-run victim Brian Mitchell will never know why he died.

Brian Mitchell. Photo courtesy of Allison Small.Brian Mitchell. Photo courtesy of Allison Small.

The 86-year-old retired builder was knocked down by Graham Brooks as he crossed High Street, Lowestoft, on November 15, 2017.

Brooks, who had 11 previous driving disqualifications, was jailed for 15 months in September while Mr Mitchell spent the rest of his life in hospital.

He died two days before Christmas last year due to a bleed on the brain.

On Thursday, December 20, an inquest heard how during his time at both James Paget University Hospital (JPUH) and Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) Mr Mitchell had a series of falls.

And due to these accidents senior coroner Jacqueline Lake was unable to conclude when the 86-year-old suffered his fatal blow.

On November 17 he was twice found lying on his back after unwitnessed falls at the NNUH and on another occasion was found crawling on the floor.

After each fall Mr Mitchell was monitored closely and subsequent CT scans showed no fractures or bleeding on the brain.

It was not until a CT scan on December 14 after nurses raised concerns about Mr Mitchell’s drowsy state that a bleed on the brain was discovered.

A post-mortem examination revealed Mr Mitchell died from a chronic subdural hematoma with rebleeding and pneumonia. While the neuropathologist concluded the hit and run and recent falls “both contributed” to Mr Mitchell’s death.

In her summary Ms Lake said: “The evidence does not disclose where Mr Mitchell suffered his fatal injury.”

The coroner said she was “satisfied” with the action taken by both hospitals following the falls as they were in keeping with guidelines set out by The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Ms Lake added: “This is a very unusual case with a category of incidents.”

Following the conclusion Mr Mitchell’s son Graham said the decision was hard to for the family to take.

He said: “It’s 12 months exactly to when he died in three days. For what we have all been through there is disappointment in the family. This has taken a lot out of us.

“We never will never have closure because my dad died but no one is responsible for it.”

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