A stable hand who was mown down by a loose lorry tyre told his friend he just wanted to go home to be with his wife.

Father-of-eight Robert Kerry was waiting for his morning lift to work when he was thrown 12ft by the bouncing tyre.

Mr Kerry, 54, of Chichester Road, Arundel, suffered severe internal injuries after he was struck by one of two tyres which came loose from a lorry as it drove along the A27 near Arundel.

At an inquest into his death, Chichester Coroners’ Court was told that Mr Kerry was a creature of habit who always waited under the sign of The White Swan Hotel.

The inquest was told that on the morning of March 5 Mr Kerry had got up at 5am and set off to wait for his lift to work.

Martin McKeon, a night porter at the hotel, said he could set his watch by Mr Kerry who would be in the same spot every morning.

Mr McKeon told the inquest he had gone to get some keys between 5.35am and 5.40am on March 5, when he heard a sound like a car door slamming.

He thought Mr Kerry had been picked up but then saw a car which had pulled into the driveway of the hotel.

Mr McKeon went outside and saw Mr Kerry's colleague Jason Doe standing over him.

The inquest was told the 54-year-old was consious and even tried to get up as he asked to go home - which was only yards away.

Mr Doe told the coroner that he had driven past the spot where he was meant to pick Mr Kerry up when he saw a tyre in the road.

He pulled into the hotel entrance and saw Mr Kerry lying on the pavement.

Mr Doe said: “As I approached him I said, 'Bob, it's me' and he came to and was moaning a bit, and I said 'Bob, I think you have been hit by a wheel' and he said 'yeah, I have been hit'.”

The inquest was told the lorry was being driven by Neil Mackay, who worked for Hydro-Cleansing.

He had picked the vehicle up earlier than usual because there was trouble with the brakes and he had been asked to drive it from Chichester to another depot in Croydon, to be fixed.

Two days earlier the vehicle had been taken to Glenside Commercials, near Portsmouth, where safety checks were carried out and several faults were found with the vehicle.

These were fixed, the court was told, but at no point did any problems with the tyres come to light.

Mr Mackay said every driver was taught to check their vehicle and tick of a safety check list before it was taken out.

He told the court there appeared to be no problem with the tyres or the wheel nuts but that they were only checked by sight and not by hand. He told the court he had no idea how the tyres could have come loose.

West Sussex Coroner Penelope Schofield adjourned the inquest.