THE wife of a man who was killed by a police car in South Tyneside has told how she was out looking for him as the tragedy unfolded.
Vincent Gibson, of Shaw Avenue, Biddick Hall, South Shields, was hit by the car – which was on an emergency call – in Whiteleas Way, South Shields, on January 7, 2012.
The 50-year-old died from his injuries, and an inquest, led by South Tyneside coroner Terence Carney, began yesterday at Moot Hall, in Newcastle.
Mr Carney read a statement from Mr Gibson’s widow, Sandra, who said that on the day of the tragedy, her husband had been to see Newcastle United play Blackburn Rovers in an FA Cup match at St James’s Park.
She received a phone call from Mr Gibson at 8.15pm asking to be picked up from Bede Metro station.
She said they had a minor disagreement about whether or not to go out for Sunday lunch the following day and – at 8.30pm – Mr Gibson left their home, saying he was going back out and walked towards Gaskell Avenue.
At 9.32pm, Mrs Gibson texted her husband to ask where he was, but he did not respond. She said that was out of character.
She said: “I remember dozing off and then waking up and hearing the helicopter and the sirens going.
“He wasn’t answering his calls. He always answered.
“I started to panic. He has never stopped out before and not come home.”
Mrs Gibson went out with her son Liam, driving around looking for her husband, and went to the Red Duster pub, in Whiteleas, to see her father, Raymond Dixon.
At about 10.30pm, she said she saw flashing lights and was going to go over to them, but was discouraged by her father, who said she should go home.
She added: “I was waiting at home when the police came to the house and told me the news.”
The couple had first met in 1985 and had been married for 23 years.
They had two sons, Liam and Michael.
Forensic pathologist Dr Peter Nigel Cooper told the hearing that Mr Gibson had been pronounced dead at South Tyneside District Hospital.
He said that Mr Gibson had suffered 42 injuries.
He explained that Mr Gibson suffered two “necessarily fatal injuries” – a damaged aorta valve in the heart and a spinal chord injury.
He said: “He would have died, essentially, the moment the car struck him, or at least been unconscious and have died shortly after.”
The hearing heard Mr Gibson had a blood alcohol reading of 164mg of alcohol in 100ml – twice the drink-drive limit.
However, the doctor explained that he would not have necessarily been drunk, as people cope with levels of alcohol differently.
He gave the cause of Mr Gibson’s death as multiple injuries.
* The inquest continues today