Woman died after promenade fall

By James HoreA WOMAN whose elderly mother died when her mobility scooter plunged off a promenade and onto a beach has called for safety barriers to be installed to prevent more accidents.

By James Hore

A WOMAN whose elderly mother died when her mobility scooter plunged off a promenade and onto a beach has called for safety barriers to be installed to prevent more accidents.

Eileen Grellier was taking her pet dog, Zebbee, for a walk on the lower promenade below King's Parade in Clacton just after 11am on December 31 last year when the accident happened.

Mrs Grellier, 85, died as a result of head injuries caused by the fall and Essex coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray recorded yesterday a verdict of accidental death.

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But it emerged after the inquest that there has been a series of accidents in the past few years involving mobility scooters along the seafront in the Tendring district - with one leading to a man's death and another leaving a pensioner with serious injuries.

However, a 1979 bylaw has made it illegal for “shop strollers” to be on the promenade.

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Mrs Grellier's daughter, Eileen Goodman, has now called on Tendring District Council to put barriers along the promenade to prevent further accidents.

Her mother, of Cliff Road, Holland-on-Sea, had been warned by her carer not to go out because there was black ice on the pavements.

Mrs Goodman, from Cambridge, told the inquest in Weeley: “She went along the seafront a lot, she always had her dog with her, that is why she went down there.

“Her carer had been in the morning and said 'Don't go out as there is black ice' and she promised she would not. But the independent woman in her took over and decided she needed a walk and she went down to the front.

“I feel my mother would not have been on the promenade had there been signs. It is illegal because of the bylaws. She should have been aware of it, but there are not any signs and everyone goes down there.”

Pc Duncan Thurwell, of Essex Police, said it was possible Mrs Grellier had looked around to see where Zebbee was before she fell five metres from the promenade and onto the beach.

He added investigations into the mobility scooter had found the vehicle was in perfect working order. “The prime cause must have been driver error,” said Pc Thurwell.

Speaking after the inquest, Mrs Goodman called for the council to introduce safety barriers along the seafront to prevent more accidents.

“I think there has to be signs so people would know it is illegal to go along there. They would not go down there, but then maybe a barrier would be the answer,” she said.

Pc Kelvin Westall, of Bocking traffic police, said the 1979 bylaw banning “shop strollers” was not being enforced on the six kilometres of promenade between Jaywick and Holland-on-Sea.

“This was a tragic accident and is the result of no fault by anybody, however, there is a bylaw of November 1979 which prohibits use of shop strollers along the promenade,” he added.

“Those bylaws, in my opinion, are out of date and should be readdressed due to the amount of invalid carriages that are now in use.”

Pc Westall said he would be preparing a report for Tendring District Council to consider.

A spokesman for the council said risk assessments had been carried out in 1995 and again this year and they had concluded there was not a need for barriers because the promenade was seven metres wide.

He added mobility scooters were allowed to use the seafront at the council's discretion.


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