MYSTERY still surrounds the death of a homeless wanderer, who was killed after he was hit by a lorry as he walked along the A66 in North Yorkshire.

An inquest in Richmond yesterday was told 42-year-old Roland Brown died instantly from multiple injuries in the early hours of December 12, last year.

However, North Yorkshire West coroner Geoff Fell said there was no evidence to indicate why Mr Brown was walking in the middle of the carriageway near Scotch Corner, with his back to the traffic.

Police accident investigator PC Paul Davenport told the inquest lorry driver Leslie Dewhurst, of Consett, County Durham, was travelling within the speed limit but would have been able to do little to avoid the accident, as Mr Brown was wearing dark clothing that would have been hard to spot.

PC Davenport said Mr Brown was wearing a woolly hat and may have also had the hood of his coat up on a night when temperatures fell to -4C, and that may have deadened the sound of the approaching lorry.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Mr Fell said a toxicology report showed Mr Brown had not been drinking and, although there were traces of a tranquilliser in his bloodstream, it appeared to have been taken in the correct dosage.

"Some witnesses have indicated Mr Brown appeared to be drunk, but the evidence I have suggests otherwise," said Mr Fell.