A WOMAN climbed on a police officer's back shouting "what have you done" as she tried to give first aid to an elderly man who been knocked down by a patrol car.

PC Samantha Cooper was a passenger in a marked police car travelling west on Edward Street, Brighton, when David Ormesher was hit just before 1am on August 25, 2017.

PC Cooper was with PC Richard Harris, who was driving as they headed towards a "grade one" emergency incident near the Palace Pier where a woman was trying to kill herself.

Mr Ormesher, from near Poole in Dorset, had stepped off the central reservation and was walking south across the road when he was knocked down by the police car, travelling at 57mph.

PC Harris said he had applied the brakes as soon as he saw a movement from the central reservation and had steered left in an attempt to avoid Mr Ormesher, but the 79-year-old was hit by the left side of the car.

The Argus:

The inquest, at the Jury's Inn hotel in Stroudley Road, Brighton, heard how he suffered multiple injuries and went into cardiac arrest.

PC Cooper broke down in tears as she told the hearing how she had tried to help Mr Ormesher when she was accosted by a passer-by who was shouting in her ear.

She said: "I pressed the red button on police radio and said we've been involved in a road traffic collision and had hit a pedestrian.

"I got out of the car and ran up the road and by this point PC Harris was already there on his knees - he was out of the car immediately.

"A member of the public had appeared and was shouting at me 'what have you done?'

"Having worked previously in the NHS in an A and E department I checked for signs of life, but unfortunately there were none.

The Argus:

"I did some chest compressions, but while I was doing this the member of the public was actually climbing on my back screaming in my ear, and I had to elbow her off of me."

The court heard that the woman in question was found to have been drinking alcohol and had taken prescription medication.

Afterwards, she unable to remember what had happened and there had been no other eye witnesses.

PC Cooper said that prior to the crash, PC Harris had slowed down at the traffic lights at the junction with Upper Rock Gardens, where the lights were green, and had accelerated again once past the junction.

She described Mr Ormesher's movements as "walking with purpose" and said she first saw him after he had stepped off the central reservation, when he was in the right hand lane.

She said: "I didn't see him look towards the car.

"He was as far into the lane as one or two steps - not in the centre.

"At that point we had gone left and all I can see is these house coming straight towards me and I thought, we are going through these houses.

"It all happened so fast."

The Argus:

The inquest heard how the police car had hit the curb after colliding with Mr Ormesher, and been travelling with its blue lights on but without a siren, due to the time of night.

Mr Ormesher had been staying in Brighton to help renovate a property owned by a family friend, and was heading back to the house in Portland Place after an evening at a bar listening to live music by candlelight.

He was wearing a dark hooded jumper and light blue jeans, and was found to have 148mg alcohol per 100ml in his blood, according to a toxicology report, which is just under twice the drink driving limit.

Senior coroner Veronica Hamilton-Deeley said it would have been "difficult" to see him, but "he certainly was not completely hidden".

The Argus:

PC Stephen Ashby of the forensic collision investigation unit at Sussex Police, who assessed the scene of the crash and the police car, calculated the speed of the vehicle at the moment of impact with Mr Ormesher was 57mph.

He described the junction as a "visually cluttered environment" and said: "A police vehicle or any vehicle at night with its lights on is generally far more visible than a pedestrian.

"In this case you have a police car with blue lights and you get that bounce effect off the windows.

"In my opinion, on this occasion the police vehicle would have been far more visible than Mr Ormesher would have been to them.

"It's possible that he didn't look and see the vehicle or he didn't realise what speed it was going at."

Mr Ormesher was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency services at 1.44am.

The hearing continues.