Widow, 89, was killed by hit-and-run driver who was high on heroin, inquest hears

George Martin
·2-min read
Celia Jackson died on 31 July last year. (SWNS)
Celia Jackson died on 31 July last year. (SWNS)

An 89-year-old widow was killed by a drug driver who had taken cocaine and heroin before getting behind the wheel, an inquest has heard.

Celia Jackson was struck by a £25,000 Mercedes being driven by Darren Griffiths in Sheffield on July 31 last year.

The retired seamstress was rushed to the city’s Northern General Hospital with devastating injuries but tragically died two days later.

Griffiths died earlier this year from an unconnected drug-related incident while being investigated over Jackson’s death.

An inquest at Sheffield Coroner's Court heard on Monday that Jackson was standing by her own vehicle when she was 'clipped' by Griffiths' Mercedes A160 as he drove past.

She was pronounced dead at Northern General Hospital in Sheffield. (Google)
She was pronounced dead at Northern General Hospital in Sheffield. (Google)

Witnesses said they saw the Griffiths driving very slowly, between 15 and 20mph, and swerving into the wrong lane prior to the collision.

One witness, Bev Truman, captured footage of the incident showing Griffiths hitting Jackson and continuing to drive at a slow speed - apparently unaware of the collision.

Keith Robinson, another witness, told the court he drove alongside the Mercedes after the collision attempting to get Griffith’s attention and tell him to stop but said the driver did not register him and looked "out of it".

A short distance down the road Griffiths hit another car and overturned his vehicle, becoming trapped.

He was freed from his vehicle and taken to hospital with minor injuries and arrested.

Read more: Woman, 91, arrested over death of boy, three, struck by car in Edinburgh

A blood sample taken while Griffiths was in hospital found he had both heroin and cocaine in his system.

PC Richard Thorley said Griffiths had claimed before he died that he had crashed because stitches from a recent operation had come undone and he was in considerable pain.

He later told police he had been experiencing a psychotic episode and had not been aware of the collision at the time, nor did he have any recollection of it.

Concluding the inquest, assistant coroner Mrs Katy Dickinson said: "If he had not passed away this gentleman would have been prosecuted and we would not have had to meet [at an inquest]."

Mrs Dickinson told Mrs Jackson’s family, “I am sorry that you have not got justice for his potential criminality.”