A DRIVER whose car struck a much-loved 90-year-old great grandfather did not see the pensioner crossing the road and did not realise he had hit a person, an inquest heard.

Peter Bide, of Charmouth, died close to his home on January 23 last year after being hit by a car driven by David Gilbert.

Emergency services were called to the scene at the junction of The Street and Lower Sea Lane in Charmouth shortly after 7pm, but sadly Mr Bide was pronounced dead by paramedics.

The retired teacher was described by his son, Timothy Bide, in the inquest as a ‘much-loved dad, grandad and great grandad’.

The inquest heard that Mr Bide, a widower, was in good health and remained independent.

He had left his house to go to a nearby convenience store that evening after running out of milk and was returning home with his shopping when he was hit by a red Volkswagen Lupo.

It was reported that the driver of the car failed to stop at the scene.

The driver, Mr Gilbert, was alone in the car and was returning to his partner’s address after dropping his son and his son's friend off at a Scout meeting.

Mr Gilbert described the incident as ‘horrific’ and said he did not know that he had hit a person and did not see anybody crossing the road when he struck Mr Bide.

He said: “There was a (noise) and the windscreen seemed to come towards me. The windscreen came in and it freaked me out.

“I thought it was a big rock.”

Mr Gilbert told the inquest that he panicked and continued to drive a short distance up the road to his partner’s address.

He said he parked his car and got his partner and the both of them went out into the street to see what had happened. They saw people surrounding a man lying on the ground. His partner then immediately called the police.

Mr Bide’s son asked Mr Gilbert at the hearing how he could have not seen his father crossing the road when CCTV footage showed that he was illuminated by the driver’s headlights seconds before the collision.

Mr Gilbert said: “I couldn’t see anybody. I have racked my brain, I did not see him.

“The first thing I knew was my windshield exploded. I freaked out because I thought somebody had been throwing stuff at the car.

“I pride myself in my driving but I struggle to get in a car now.

“I have been scared by the ability of an (elderly) man appearing without me seeing him - I don’t know how that could have happened at all. It has ruined me mentally.

“I am genuinely really sorry, I’m sorry.”

A police report said there was no evidence Mr Gilbert was exceeding the speed limit or under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or using his mobile phone at the time of Mr Bide’s death.

PC Rogers told the hearing that a forensic investigation confirmed that there was a possibility that poor lighting conditions and parked vehicles on the road could have reduced the amount of time Mr Bide was in view when he was crossing the road, giving the driver very little time to react.

The inquest heard that Mr Bide was wearing dark clothing and chose not to use a pedestrian crossing metres away from his address and that there was a possibility that Mr Bide could have misjudged the distance or speed of the approaching vehicle.

Following enquiries, police officers confirmed that Mr Gilbert is no longer under investigation and will face no further police action.

A post-mortem by forensic pathologist Dr Basil Purdue revealed that Mr Bide suffered serious injuries to his head, lower legs and upper body.

Assistant coroner for Dorset, Richard Middleton, concluded that Mr Bide died from injuries sustained from a road traffic collision and gave his condolences to all of Mr Bide’s family and friends.