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Pensioner crushed under car for nine days

A PENSIONER was crushed to death under her car –  and lay there undiscovered for nine days, an inquest heard.

Jane Marion Lord, 76, had tried to stop the red Vauxhall Corsa from rolling down the driveway, at her home in Newcastle Emlyn.

She is believed to have died on December 21, 2016, and to have remained under the front passenger side of car until after Christmas, when a worried friend arrived – and her dog led her to the body.

The inquest in Aberystwyth heard how Miss Lord, of Penrallt Ffynnon, Cwm-cou, was last seen alive at around 7pm on December 21, when she briefly went to a party at the house of her friend Francesca Lis Ross.

Miss Ross said she first became worried about Miss Lord when she went over to her house on Friday, December 23, to give her a Christmas card, and found the door of the house locked but the car still on the drive.

“I assumed she must have gone away with a friend with a vehicle, so I left a present down at the house and left,” said Miss Ross.

Miss Ross returned to Penrallt Ffynnon with her husband and two dogs on 30 December after trying to call Miss Lord the day before.

They broke through the door of the house to check inside and searched the garden, but only found Miss Lord’s body when the dogs took an interest in the underside of the car.

PC Matthew Fraser of Dyfed-Powys Police’s forensic division described how Miss Lord had suffered crushing injuries to her shoulder and hip, and that hand marks on the car suggested she had tried to stop the car rolling down the drive before falling over and being pinned under it.

He added that the car’s handbrake was in full working order, but that the ‘three clicks’ the lever had been set at were only just enough to stop it from rolling down the driveway on most occasions.

PC Fraser said that five clicks of the handbrake would have engaged it fully, but that Miss Lord would have found it difficult to pull the lever this high.

Coroner for Ceredigion, Peter Brunton, gave a verdict of accidental death, and ruled that Miss Lord would not have survived the night of 21 December.

He said: “This was something that Miss Lord had been doing with that particular car from time to time and it had never gone wrong before, but on that evening the handbrake failed to hold.

“The evidence is quite clear that three clicks would only just hold the car on that incline and for reasons that we cannot ascertain, it rolled forward.“

He passed on his sympathies to Miss Lord’s family and friends, and added: “This is one of the those dreadful cases where if circumstances had turned out slightly differently we wouldn’t be here today.“

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Jon Coles

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