Father of 35 died after collision with slow car in Melton
A father with 35 children died after colliding with a slow-moving car as he crossed the road.
Trevor Hearne was crossing near Morrisons supermarket, in Melton, when the accident happened.
An inquest at Loughborough Coroner's Court yesterday heard that the collision occurred at a very low speed and that 54-year-old Mr Hearne had been drinking.
The inquest heard driver George Green, 73, a Melton resident who had been an advanced driver with the police motorway patrol before working for 21 years as a driving instructor, was driving along Rutland Street when he heard a noise, at about 5.20pm on December 19.
"I heard a loud bang on the windscreen and was aware some object had gone across my windscreen," said Mr Green, in a statement which was read out at the hearing.
"At this point, I was travelling at no more than 5mph.
"I was shaken and immediately braked to a halt and saw a man lying in the road."
No witnesses saw the collision itself. Investigator Pc James Lawrence told the inquest he could not be certain which way Mr Hearne was walking across the road.
Kelly Burdett was standing nearby when the collision happened.
She told the court: "The car was not going fast. All I remember is seeing the gentleman in the road, and the next thing I knew he was on the ground and people were running to help.
"There was a noise, but I thought the car's wing mirror had fallen off or something."
The inquest heard that Mr Hearne lived in a caravan off Saxby Road, in Melton, with his wife, Ginty Taylor, with whom he had four children.
He also had 31 other children with various different women.
Mr Hearne drank about 30 cans of lager each day and during the post-mortem examination traces of alcohol and relaxants ketamine and propathol were found.
Pathologist Dr Frances Hollingsbury told the inquest Mr Hearne's skull was broken into several pieces and there was evidence of bruising and bleeding on his brain. She said: "He had a number of external injuries that could have been caused by the impact with the car, but the most likely cause of the head injury was the impact with the ground."
Mr Hearne was taken to Queen's Medical Centre, in Nottingham, where he was pronounced dead in the early hours of the following day.
Coroner Robert Chapman recorded a verdict of accidental death.
He said: "Mr Hearne was a man who liked to drink and had had something to drink. It was a very low-speed impact and, after Mr Hearne was brushed by the car, he fell and it's likely the fracture was caused when the back of his head hit the road surface."