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Seaham grandmother dies after tripping over remains of old street sign
A GRANDMOTHER died after she tripped over the remains of an old street sign just days after a safety inspection failed to spot, an inquest was told.
Audrey Foster, 79, died in Sunderland Royal Hospital five days after breaking her hip in the fall close to her home in Bethune Avenue, Seaham, County Durham.
An inquest at Sunderland Civic Centre heard the footpath in The Avenue, Seaham, was subject to six-monthly inspections and had been checked just eight days before Mrs Foster’s accident in June.
Brian Buckley, Durham County Council’s strategic highways manager, told the hearing it was unclear how long the stump had been there but that type of post had not been used for “many, many years”.
It was not possible to say definitively why the stump had not been spotted during previous inspections, but he believed it may only recently have become a hazard.
The hearing was told Mrs Foster had suffered organ failure as a result of pneumonia which developed after she inhaled her own vomit in Sunderland Royal Hospital.
Deputy coroner Karen Welsh said: “I have no criticism of Mrs Foster’s treatment at the hospital. If Mrs Foster had not fallen, she would not have died when she did. My finding, therefore, must be accident.”
Speaking after the hearing, Mr Buckley said: “The council was saddened to hear about Mrs Foster’s death and has offered sincere condolences directly to the family.
“We investigated how the accident came to happen and reported our findings to the coroner.
“We would like to urge everyone with any knowledge of a defect on a path or road to report it to the council as quickly as possible so we can assess what action is needed to deal with it.”
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