Friday, 29 November 2013
Nigerian man killed by a lorry after storming out of car during row with his wife
Nahinmu Nicholas had stormed out of the Ford Focus with his suitcases, saying he was going to hitch-hike to Heathrow, but was knocked down by a lorry in the morning darkness.
His wife had pulled over on what they both thought was the hard shoulder of the M25, not realising that it was a live lane because of roadworks. A coroner was told that lorry driver Martin Hook was unable to avoid Mr Nicholas as he suddenly caught sight of him.
His 13-tonne bread lorry also struck the couple’s car in the accident just six minutes after they had stopped on the clockwise carriageway of the M25 at junction 6 for Godstone, Surrey, at around 4.30am on April 10.
Florence Olokun-Ola told the inquest in Woking, Surrey, that her husband was going to Nigeria alone for 12 days and that the fight started because she wanted their bank card while he was away. ‘The argument became very aggressive and his voice changed,’ she added.
Mrs Olokun-Ola, who had earlier told how financial problems had caused tension in their relationship, said she no longer felt comfortable driving and pulled over to what she thought was the hard shoulder.
She added: ‘He took off his seat belt. As soon as the car stopped he took the keys and opened the boot and took out his luggage. He put it by the crash barrier.’
In an attempt to get her husband back in the car Mrs Olokun-Ola drove forward a bit, but he started to walk back down the carriageway trying to thumb a lift.
Then she felt the force of the collision as the lorry struck the rear of her car.
‘I got out the car and at first I was angry because he didn’t come running over to see if I was okay,’ she said. She then discovered her husband’s body and ran back to the car to dial 999.
Mr Hook said he was travelling through the roadworks at 50mph. ‘The next thing I knew was there was a dark shadow in front of me,’ he added. ‘I turned straight away to the centre of the carriageway.’
A post-mortem examination concluded that Mr Nicholas died as a result of severe head injuries.
Accident reconstruction officer PC Dominic Gibson said that the stretch of the M25 where the accident happened was unlit. He said there were signs warning that the hard shoulder was now a live lane.
Assistant Surrey Coroner Michael Burgess recorded a verdict that Mr Nicholas, of Dartford, Kent, died as a result of a road traffic collision.