Woman, 29, killed by driver sleepwalking after 14-and-a-half hour shift

A 29-year-old woman died after being hit by a driver who suffered a seizure at the wheel, an inquest has heard.

Peter Sinclair, 55, left a trail of destruction in Handforth, Cheshire when he suffered a "nocturnal seizure" after working a 14-and-a-half hour shift.

It led to him crashing three times while driving at "excessive speed" on the wrong side of Wilmslow Road on the morning of May 21, 2018, and tragically colliding with pedestrian Helena Faith Randall when driving through red lights, CheshireLive reports.

Mrs Randall, described as a "very positive girl" with an "amazing" marriage, died later that morning at Royal Salford Hospital.

At an inquest held in Warrington on Thursday, April 6, before Assistant Coroner, Mr Peter Sigee, the court heard how Mrs Randall, of Wilmslow Court, Handforth, was struck by a vehicle while crossing at a traffic light controlled junction near Handforth Railway Station.

Mr Sinclair told the court that he had suffered a nocturnal seizure, which causes sleepwalking and unusual unconscious behaviour, back in 2014, after which he gave up his driving license on his doctor's advice.

But 18 months later, he regained his license after reapplying to the DVLA, despite still at that point receiving care from a neurologist.

The Stockport man told the court that he did not suffer another episode until the day of the fatal collision.

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Mr Sinclair explained that he worked at a local supermarket at the time of the incident "unloading wagons" and "replenishing them".

On May 20, 2018, Mr Sinclair had started a night shift at 5pm, finishing 14-and-a-half hours later at 7.30am on the morning of May 21.

He told the court that he "felt fine" at work and that it was "just a normal shift" and that he was "ready to go home".

The court heard written evidence from Police Constable Mark Howitt of Cheshire Police, who was one of the officers on the scene.

Constable Howitt said when he arrived at the scene a large group of people was stood around Mrs Randall and were "extremely distressed".

They shouted that the driver of the vehicle had crashed further up the road, pointing up Wilmslow Road, where Const Howitt could see a further group of pedestrians standing outside Handforth Garage about 100 metres away.

He then arrested Mr Sinclair on suspicion of dangerous driving and failing to stop at the scene of a collision.

Const Howitt described Mr Sinclair's behaviour as being "strange" and that "he appeared unable to comprehend what had happened".

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A breathalyser and drug check was conducted, both of which came back negative.

It was reported at 9.50am that Mrs Randall had died upon arrival at Royal Salford Hospital and Const Howitt further arrested Mr Sinclair on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

A few moments later he asked why he had been arrested.

Mr Sinclair was later taken to hospital for a check-up due to concerns he had suffered a medical episode while driving.

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The only substances that were found within Mr Sinclair's blood was medication that he was prescribed.

Summarising the facts, Mr Sigee said the medical evidence indicates that Mr Sinclair was driving in a "state of automatism" – a legal term describing behaviour that occurs when a person is unconscious and unaware that the act is taking place.

Mr Sigee said: "I find the cause of death to be aortic avulsion due to blunt force chest injuries."

He added: "I am satisfied that the appropriate conclusion for me to reach is that Mrs Randall died as a result of injuries suffered in a road traffic collision."

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