A DOG walker died of catastrophic head injuries after being mercilessly mown down by a drink and drug-crazed driver, an inquest heard in Preston.
Paul Clark, 42, had his life support system switched off a week after he was struck from behind by a man targeting pedestrians on a high-speed hit-and-run rampage.
The man behind the wheel of the Ford Focus, William O’Mara, 45, later killed himself in prison days before he was due to stand trial on three counts of attempted murder.
And in a landmark judgement, Coroner Dr James Adeley ruled Mr Clark had been “unlawful killed” - the first time in a decade he had returned the verdict in Preston.
The inquest heard O’Mara, fuelled by booze, cocaine and diazepam, was in a jealous rage when he went on a savage spree after smashing his estranged girlfriend over the head with a vodka bottle in a bust-up at the Ocean Edge Holiday Park in Morecambe.
He raced through the site in her car and deliberately drove at a grandfather and his grandson as they left a play area. Holidaymaker Kevin Mc Nulty bravely pushed the boy to safety between two caravans and was only inches from being struck. The car then smashed through a security barrier leaving the site before ploughing into Mr Clark as he walked his pet dogs along a road outside, throwing him up into the air before speeding off.
This was a terrible waste of life and completely unecessary
Less than a mile away he deliberately drove at another man out walking his dog, hitting the animal and catapulting the owner through the air behind it. He was later arrested, having collided with two vehicles, the second head-on as he careered along on the wrong side of the road in Torrisholme.
Mr Clark was taken to the area’s main neurological centre at the Royal Preston Hospital, but his head injuries were far too severe to survive.
Dr Adeley said: “He was struck from behind by a car driven dangerously. This was a terrible waste of life and completely unecessary.”
Outside the court DCI Dean Holden said: “I absolutely agree with the unlawful killing verdict. Unfortunately we were unable to take a prosecution forward because O’Mara committed suicide. But this is as close as the family can get to some kind of closure.”