Family of troubled soldier from Horsham St Faith “bears no grudge” against driver for death

The brother of a troubled former soldier who died after being hit by a car while he was standing in the middle of the road has told the driver he bears no grudge against him for the death, an inquest heard.

David Phillips, 54, of The Warren, Horsham St Faith, died from multiple injuries after being hit by a Peugeot 106 on Manor Road, close to his home, at about 7.25pm on January 22 this year.

Mr Phillips, who had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suffered from a series of 'complex' mental health conditions including bi-polar disorder which started to develop while he was in the army.

An inquest in Norwich yesterday heard that Mr Phillips, who served in Northern Ireland, had been standing bare chested in the middle of the road with his trousers round his knees and with his arms out when he was hit by a car being driven by Daniel Collard.

Mr Collard, who lives in Horsham St Faith, had been driving on Manor Road, which has a 30mph limit, when he suddenly saw Mr Phillips, who had been drinking and was more than twice the legal drink drive limit, standing in the road about 20ft away.

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Mr Collard, who was driving with dipped headlights in a poorly-lit area said he thought he was travelling about 30mph when he saw Mr Phillips but 'didn't have time' to put his brakes on.

The inquest had earlier heard evidence from two other motorists who both had to avoid Mr Phillips who had been standing in the middle of the road. Mr Collard said he did not know exactly how fast he was going.

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His brother, Mark, told him: 'On behalf of the family we don't hold any grudges against you whatsoever.'

Mr Phillips was due to appear at Norwich Magistrates' Court to be sentenced a few days after his death having previously pleading guilty to harassment – a charge relating to threats to kill his ex-partner.

The inquest heard evidence from his friend John Lenton who said he knew Mr Phillips had previously walking out in front of cars, describing it as a 'hobby' in his statement to police.

Mark Phillips told the inquest he knew his brother had walked out in front of cars and had warned him about the consequences. He said it was often a sign of when he was ill and wanted to get himself sectioned.

Recording a narrative verdict Norfolk coroner William Armstrong said: 'The deceased, David Phillips, who was suffering from mental disorders, died while walking on a public road when he was hit by a moving car and suffered fatal injuries as a consequence. His actions were reckless as a consequence of his mental disorder. But I shall add he did not intend to bring his life to an end.'

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