Angry family blast council after cancer sufferer’s pavement fall

BADLY BRUISED: Jennifer Cooke after the fall
BADLY BRUISED: Jennifer Cooke after the fall

THE angry family of a terminally-ill cancer sufferer who was hurt in a fall on a problem pavement has blasted council chiefs over the “accident that was waiting to happen”.

Jennifer Cooke, 64, badly bruised her face and knee when she tripped on two uneven paving stones on Sunderland Road, South Shields, on Thursday afternoon.

Mrs Cooke, of Park Avenue, South Shields, is now recovering at home.

Son Anthony says he was told by several residents that they had warned South Tyneside Council the path was a danger spot months before Mrs Cooke’s fall.

South Tyneside Council confirmed previous inspections of the pavement had taken place but it had not “met the criteria” required for repair work to be carried out.

The council says that the damage to the pavement – which led to Mrs Cooke’s fall – had been caused by cars parking on the pavement.

Mr Cooke says council chiefs should have acted on previous warnings before his mother was injured.

He said: “She tripped over an uneven pavement and has badly bruised her face and her knee.

“She was just on her way to the shops.

“She has terminal cancer and this was another blow she didn’t need.

“I went to take some photographs of the pavement after the accident and a lot of people stopped me and said they had told the council it was an accident waiting to happen.”

He added: “Why does it take an accident to take place for something to be done?”

A South Tyneside Council spokesman said: “We sympathise with Ms Cooke and wish her a speedy recovery.

“We are committed to maintaining our footpaths and regularly check their condition against a set of national criteria. As soon as this incident was reported to us, we sent out a highways maintenance crew to inspect the pavement and carry out the necessary repairs in accordance with the national standards.

“Previous inspections at this particular location had not met the criteria set for repair work.

“However, on this occasion inspectors found the pavement had been subject to obvious vehicle damage. We would remind drivers that parking on the pavement is illegal.”