Ralph and Brenda Jenkins, both 84, were struck down when walking near their retirement flat by elderly driver Michael Borland who suffered a medical episode at the wheel
An elderly Mercedes driver who killed an elderly married couple told a coroner today he “blinked and everything went black.”
Ralph and Brenda Jenkins, both aged 84 years, were struck down when walking near their retirement flat on October 6, 2022. They died at the scene of the accident with Ralph pinned between the car and a wall. In a tribute, their family said the retired teachers had enjoyed “62 years of happy marriage”.
The inquest heard that Michael Borland, aged in his 80s, was driving the Mercedes and had since also died. During a police interview conducted on December 20, 2022, Mr Borland said: “I turned into Mayfair (Tilehurst) and there was a brilliant flash that came across my eyes. I blinked and everything went black.
“After that, I don’t remember anything. The next thing I remember was the paramedics pulling me out of my seat. The tragedy that has happened has been on my mind every day, I live through it every day now. I couldn’t believe what I saw, I was nearly sick.”
The coroner was told that on October 6, 2022, the couple were walking on the pavement past a mini-roundabout junction before being struck. Berkshire Assistant Coroner Ian Wade said: “The car struck the couple and carried on, causing fatal injuries and extreme damage to front of vehicle and terrible damage to the frontage of Shepherd’s Court.”
The inquest in Reading heard a statement from a paramedic from the South Central Ambulance Service, who helped Mr Borland into an ambulance and onto a stretcher. The statement said. “Mr Borland believed he potentially blacked out at the wheel prior to the collision, saying his memory was hazy.”
Ralph was a headteacher at Birch Copse Primary School and Brenda was a headteacher at Cippenham Nursery School, Slough, Berkshire before she set up and taught at the nursery unit at Springfield Primary School. Paying tribute their family said the couple had “worked tirelessly to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support for over 40 years”.
In recognition of their fundraising, Brenda was invited to a Buckingham Palace tea party and met King Charles, when he was Prince of Wales. Thanking the emergency services and those who stopped to help the couple they said: “The family take comfort knowing they were with each other to the end.”
CCTV footage was shown at the inquest, which showed Mr Borland’s silver Mercedes flying across a mini roundabout at the junction of Mayfair and Park Lane in Tilehurst, Reading, Berkshire. Lorraine Corre, a delivery driver, was heading to work when she pulled up to the roundabout junction in her blue Ford Galaxy. Moments later, the silver Mercedes rocketed past her left-hand side.
She said in a witness statement: “I saw the car collide with a couple of pedestrians that had been walking on the footpath opposite the junction. I parked my car on the left-hand side and tried to dial 999 but struggled as I was panicking. The driver of the car still sat within the vehicle and there was a male trapped between the car and the brick wall of the building. A female was lying face down on the floor.”