Polegate man dies after colliding with motorbike near Mayfield

An 81-year-old man from Polegate died after colliding with a motorbike near Mayfield.

Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 9:38 am

On August 7 last year Robert Leedham died at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, an inquest heard.

The inquest at Eastbourne Town Hall last Thursday (April 1), heard Mr Leedham, a retired fruit farmer who lived in Milton Street, was out on his bicycle on July 23 when the collision happened.

Mr Leedham was pushing his bike westbound towards the central reservation of the A267 Mayfield Bypass. The motorbike, ridden by Robert Brummer, was travelling in the southbound lane when Mr Leedham stepped out in front of him, the inquest heard.

Eastbourne Town Hall (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-190425-155127008
Eastbourne Town Hall (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-190425-155127008

Mr Brummer said, “At about 30 metres from the junction I saw the man coming and he just kept going. I came off my bike and I can’t remember more than that.”

The inquest heard Mr Brummer put the breaks on from travelling around 45-50mph in the 60mph limit area.

An investigation from Joseph Turner, a specialist crash investigator, said, “Mr Leedham stepped out after Mr Brummer was visible and Mr Brummer was unable to avoid the collision with Mr Leedham. Mr Leedham failed to see or misjudged the speed of the motorbike, causing the impact.”

Emergency services attended the scene and Mr Leedham was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital emergency department around 6.15pm with a number of injuries including a complicated pelvic fracture, the inquest heard.

The following few days consisted of surgery and treatment in the intensive care unit, but on August 6 he was deteriorating and it was decided by his family on August 7 to turn off the life support for Mr Leedham.

A statement from Mr Leedham’s family said, “He loved sport, travelled a lot, and lived an active lifestyle. We’re very proud of him and he had such a zest for life.

“He was a soft, empathetic, compassionate and inspiring man who made an impact on everyone he met.”

East Sussex coroner Alan Craze ruled that Mr Leedham died from a road traffic collision.

Mr Craze said, “This was a particularly tragic accident and he was left without the few more years he was expected to have, but you have explained to me the pretty wonderful life he did live.”