A man died after tripping on a ramp in a walkway next to building works at the Arndale Centre, an inquest heard today (August 9).
The distraught wife of Alan Jones said the ‘tragic situation’ could have been avoided but instead her family has been left without a husband and father.
The 78-year-old was on holiday in Eastbourne with his wife June when she said he tripped on a ramp ‘which was not secured to the pavement’ in the walkway next to the redevelopment site on January 30.
He died days later at Eastbourne DGH, the inquest at Eastbourne Town Hall heard.
In a statement, June Jones said, “This has left our family shocked as he was taken so suddenly, but also watching him suffer between the accident and his death is something I would not wish on anyone.
“Alan was communicating with us and the nursing staff until he passed which made the end even more harrowing.
“This is a tragic situation, which could have been avoided, and has left me without my husband and my children without their father.”
Mrs Jones, who had been married to her husband for 55 years, described him as a ‘very outgoing’ sociable man who enjoyed birdwatching, gardening, and playing boules.
The inquest heard how the retired engineer from Swindon had been walking back to his hotel along Terminus Road just after arriving from the train station following a day out in Rye.
Mrs Jones said, “We crossed the road heading towards the hotel where there was some building work happening.
“The pavement was closed and all pedestrians were funnelled off the pavement onto a designated walkway. The walkway was single file due to people walking in both directions and the space being tight.
“There was a ramp on the pavement/road. I was in front of Alan and did not see the fall but the witness who was directly behind said Alan tripped on the ramp which was not secured to the pavement.
“He fell into the barriers and hit his face and then backwards onto the road hitting the back of his head.”
She said a nurse was on scene and ‘sprung into action’ to look after him. Mr Jones was on blood thinner for heart problems so the bleeding was ‘extensive’ she said.
She added that, upon returning to the scene a few days later, the ramp was in the same position but had been ‘bolted to the pavement’.
The inquest also heard from Dr Andrew Pool who said Mr Jones was admitted to Eastbourne hospital after a ‘mechanical fall’. He sadly died from an acute haematoma as a result of the fall, the doctor said.
Coroner Alan Craze concluded Mr Jones’ death was an accident.
He said, “All this started when sadly Mr Jones had a fall. It’s not my job to decide whether anyone has been negligent so I haven’t called anyone about the steps people took by the works in the road.”
A spokesperson for the Arndale Centre declined to comment when the Herald approached them after the inquest.