Heaton vicar died after bike hit by moving car

A RESPECTED North East vicar died after his bike was clipped by a moving car, an inquest heard.

Crossing at the junction of Heaton Road and Meldon Terrace where Rev Michael Malleson was knocked from his bike
Crossing at the junction of Heaton Road and Meldon Terrace where Rev Michael Malleson was knocked from his bike

A RESPECTED North East vicar died after his bike was clipped by a moving car, an inquest heard.

The Rev Michael Malleson, 69, fell head-first on to the road in the accident, which happened on Heaton Road, in Heaton, Newcastle.

He was rushed to hospital but died two days later from his injuries.

The inquest, at Newcastle’s Civic Centre, heard Mr Malleson was cycling north along Heaton Road when he pulled out to avoid some parked cars.

Motorist Joseph Strong was driving behind him and saw him pull out, prompting him to pull over to give the vicar enough room.

But a central reservation caused the road to narrow, and Mr Strong’s Skoda car clipped the kerb of the reservation as he tried to pass. His car turned slightly towards Mr Malleson, an experienced cyclist, and lightly clipped his handlebars.

The “scuff” prompted Mr Malleson, who was not wearing a cycle helmet, to lose his balance and fall to the ground.

The grandfather-of-three suffered serious head injuries and was taken to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, where he died two days later on December 2.

PC Stuart Cockburn told the hearing he was concerned by cars being allowed to park where the road narrows.

He told the inquest: “I don’t think that area of road is appropriate for parking. I have made enquiries with Newcastle City Council’s Highways Department and told them of my concerns.”

The council has agreed to scrap on-street parking at Heaton Road’s junction with Meldon Terrace, near the entrance of Heaton Park.

Rev Michael Malleson

PC Cockburn told the inquest: “This has been a tragic accident where Mr Strong has observed Rev Malleson ahead of him. He observed Rev Malleson had to move out in the carriageway to overtake the parked cars and he decided to give him plenty of room.

“Unfortunately, Mr Strong’s wheel hit the kerb of the reservation and it caused the car to go slightly to the left as Rev Malleson was coming slightly to the right.

“That’s caused the two of them to come together and the car has scuffed Rev Mallesons’s handlebars.”

Pathologist Dr Abhijit Joshi said Rev Malleson died of a severe traumatic brain injury.

Returning a verdict of accidental death, coroner David Mitford said neither Mr Strong, who was not speeding in the 30mph zone, nor Mr Malleson were at fault.

He said: “I have been concerned about the situation with the parked cars and I have noted that the Cockburn took it upon himself to go to the local authority.

“The local authority have said they will make changes to the road. They’re going to be made as soon as possible but in accordance with financial constraints.

“I think life is more important that finance but at least those steps are being taken”

Mr Malleson, from Cochrane Park, in High Heaton, Newcastle, served in the dioceses of Durham and Newcastle in a number of different positions.

In retirement, he continued to serve the people and parishes of Newcastle and Heaton in particular, and to support the work of the vicar of St Gabriel’s.

His family, including wife Eileen, and children Cath and Adrian, said: “Michael is still greatly missed by his family and friends and the parishes where his faithful ministry was so highly valued.

“The inquest brings an end to the sad story of Michael’s death and allows us to focus our memories on all the many blessings of his life, and remember him as he would wish.”

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