A GREAT grandfather died after his wife of 66 years accidentally drove over him in their car.

George Kenneth Brown, 90, suffered multiple injuries to his chest and became trapped beneath the Toyota Auris.

He had fallen in front to the vehicle as his wife, June, then 88, took him for a doctor’s appointment in Stanley, County Durham.

The car rolled forward when she got out to check on him, possibly because the handbrake was not engaged, an inquest in Crook was told.

When a flustered Mrs Brown got back in the car she selected ‘drive’ instead of ‘reverse’ on their automatic car, and drove forward over his body.

Mr Brown was pronounced dead within half an hour of the accident, which took place at around 11am on July 11 last year in Scott Street.

PC Michael Woodhouse, who carried out an accident investigation, said: “Ken has left the vehicle and walked to the front near side.

“It was then that he fell, either due to a trip or a medical collapse.

“There were witnesses who saw him fall. June gets out of the car shouting ‘Ken, Ken, Ken’.

“In an obvious, and understandable, state of shock and panic at seeing him collapsed she has returned to the vehicle with the intention of reversing away from him.

“Unfortunately, the car moved forward approximately 1.4m trapping him under the vehicle.

“Members of the public came to assist and lifted the vehicle while simultaneously pushing it backwards.”

Mrs Brown was interviewed by police under caution on suspicion of causing death by careless driving.

Sergeant Peter Tate said she told officers she does not remember seeing Mr Brown get out of the vehicle.

He said she recalls screaming when she saw him in front of the car, but cannot remember getting back in, or driving forward. He said it was not in the public interest to prosecute her.

Sgt Tate said: “The result of this incident caused June and the family huge personal loss from the bereavement they suffered.

“There is no doubt the emotional impact suffered by her as a result of her involvement in the death, due to the close personal relationship between her and the deceased.

“June has had a momentary lapse in concentration after seeing her husband collapsed. This is a tragic incident and taking no further action against the deceased’s wife is the right decision.”

The inquest was told Mr Brown was being treated for prostate cancer, and a pre-existing condition may have made him unsteady on his feet which led to the fall.

Durham County Council carried out an investigation to find out if anything may have contributed to the accident but could find no evidence it did.

The cause of death was identified by pathologist Louise Mulcachy as ‘multiple chest injuries’.

Assistant Coroner James Thompson said Mr Brown’s daughter, Gwyneth, had told police the family was very close and had been devastated by the death of Mr Brown.

He said: “She wants to make it clear that their mother is very precious to them, but they understood an investigation had to be carried out.”

The coroner concluded Mr Brown died as a result of a road traffic collision.

He said: “Sadly, it would appear that the impact of the car driving forward has caused fatal injuries. I conclude this was a tragic accident. I can only imagine the loss and grief that Mrs Brown and her family have suffered.”