Inquest halted over concerns about evidence

AN inquest into the death of a Scarborough mother-of-three was halted part-way through due to concerns over medical evidence.

Debbie Goddard, 38, of Wykeham, died on November 4 last year after being hit by a Land Rover on the A170 Scarborough to Pickering road near Ruston.

The inquest at Scarborough County Court heard how Miss Goddard, who was born in Durban, South Africa, had been seen pacing up and down next to the roadside just after 7pm on the night in question.

Witnesses were called to give evidence, including John Hinton, of East Ayton, who had been driving towards Scarborough at the time.

He said: “As I progressed about halfway up the hill I noticed a figure in my dipped headlamps. As I got nearer I saw the figure standing in the road but right up to the left-hand kerb.

“I recognised the figure as a female or young person. She looked very strange – her face had no expression and didn’t seem to register anything.”

Mr Hinton then described how he passed by, looked in his rear-view mirror and saw she had moved further into the road.

Christopher Jackson, who was driving the Land Rover which collided with Miss Goddard, was also called to give evidence.

Mr Jackson, of Brompton, said after passing the Ruston junction and driving eastbound up the hill, a figure stepped out in front of his vehicle.

He said: “I did not see her until it happened. There’s no way I could have avoided this pedestrian who stepped out at the last minute.”

Traffic Constable Stuart Langford, who conducted the collision investigation said that the Land Rover was checked and found to be free from defects.

He added: “There is no allegation that any of the vehicles were driven in anything other than a normal manner.

“The damage profile would suggest that the casualty was standing still or walking towards or away from the vehicle.

“If she was walking across the road, the damage pattern would have been different.”

A medical statement which was read out in court suggested that Miss Goddard had suffered with mental health issues since August 2010.

She had been sectioned and treated in Cross Lane Hospital for a psychotic disorder and had been discharged after one month.

The report also stated that Miss Goddard had previously been a regular opiate user and had threatened to take her own life on a number of occasions, including the day of the incident.

However, Miss Goddard’s daughter Faye Evans disputed the fact that her mother had been using drugs, saying she had not taken anything for more than a year before she died and was even reluctant to take prescription medication.

Miss Evans also raised concerns about the care her mother had received from social workers and healthcare professionals.

Deputy coroner John Broadbridge adjourned the inquest to allow medical professionals to be called to give evidence in person. A date has yet to be confirmed.