UK

Cyclist Row Led To Death Of Pedestrian William Phillips

26/02/2013 13:03 GMT

A pedestrian died after been pushed in the street following an argument with a cyclist, an inquest has heard.

William Phillips, 34, died in July last year after hitting his head on the pavement. Witnesses saw a second man push him over before cycling off.

Shortly before the incident, Mr Phillips - who suffered from a rare brain condition which made him unsteady on his feet - had been seen walking in the road, causing traffic to dodge him.

william phillips

William Phillips died after hitting his head on the pavement

The incident happened outside a GP surgery in Norwich and staff rushed to his aid. He did not initially seem to be badly injured but died two days later in hospital.

The 22-year-old cyclist, who was not named, was arrested by the Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigations Team.

He was later released without charge as police concluded the death was not suspicious.

Today Shirley Kenton-Barnes, whose home overlooks Oak Street where the incident happened, told the inquest at Norfolk Coroner's Court that she had heard shouting and swearing.

She added: "I looked out of the window and saw two gentleman.

"One of them had his hands up and pushed the other. It wasn't a hard push, it was as if to say 'keep away'.

"The other looked as though he lost his footing and went down.

"Then the first man got on his bike and went off along the road."

The inquest heard that Mr Phillips, of Derby Street, Norwich, suffered from adrenoleukodystrophy, a condition similar to multiple sclerosis.

It caused him to be unsteady on his feet and sometimes led to manic behaviour and him being verbally abusive.

Dr Simon Shields, a neurologist, said this may have led to Mr Phillips appearing to be drunk.

He added: "His condition would not have made him more susceptible to a head injury but it may have made him more vulnerable to fall."

Dr Shields said that Mr Phillips was "highly intelligent" and he had never seen him be physically aggressive.

On the day of the incident, witnesses saw him walking in the road and motorists had to pull out to avoid him, fearing he may suddenly veer to one side.

Marianne Drummond said she saw the cyclist pass Mr Phillips, then throw the bike down and run up towards him.

She added: "It looked as though the cyclist was shouting at the man."

The inquest will conclude on Wednesday.