A GRANDFATHER from Ascot who suffered from dementia died after being hit by two cars in a tragic accident, an inquest has heard.

Barry James Townsend, 76, of Whitelands Drive, died on Saturday, Otober 21 when he was struck by two cars on the A332 Kings Ride in the middle of the night.

At an inquest into his death, held at Reading Town Hall on Tuesday, May 1, Mr Townsend's family said they had no idea how he had come to be in the middle of the single-lane carriageway, two miles from his home.

The driver of the car which first struck Mr Townsend, Terence Barber, gave evidence at the inquest, describing driving along the unlit and extremely dark road at approximately 11.30pm when he suddenly saw a flash of white, by the driver's side of his car.

He said he stopped his vehicle, put his hazard warning lights on, and went back to see what he had hit while his wife, Linda, called 999.

The driver of the second car, Jacqueline Power, said in a statement that she noticed Mr Barber's car parked up ahead, but could not see anything in the road. She slowed down as she went to overtake, but suddenly saw what she thought was an animal immediately ahead of her car.

Her husband David, who was a passenger in the car at the time, said there was nothing his wife could have done to avoid the obstacle.

By chance, an off-duty police officer was next to arrive on the scene, who confirmed the obstacle in the road was a man, but could find no signs of life.

Paramedics soon arrived, but nothing could be done to save Mr Townsend.

A post-mortem revealed he had died of multiple injuries, including extensive head injuries and fractures to his ribs, pelvis and spine. A toxicology report found no traces of alcohol in his system.

The inquest heard medical evidence from Mr Townsend's GP, Dr Vinay Uppal at Green Meadows Surgery, who had diagnosed him with dementia and Alzheimer's disease in January 2016. He had been prescribed with medication, and attended a day centre four days a week, but Mr Townsend's wife Mary, who held lasting power of attorney for her husband, refused any further support or respite care, insisting that she could cope.

The inquest heard how numerous meetings had been held between the Townsends, their children Saul and Lauretta, Bracknell Forest Community Mental Health Team and adult social services, but Mrs Townsend repeatedly refused for her husband's care to be increased or for him to be taken into long-term care.

Concerns were also raised over Mrs Townsend's own health, as she seemed increasingly confused and frustrated by her husband's behaviour. Her son confirmed during the inquest that his mother has since been diagnosed with Alzheimers.

Mari Longworth, service manager of the Bracknell Community Mental Health team, told the inquest that Mr Townsend never posed a risk, and had no history of wandering off from his home.

Tragically, Mrs Townsend eventually relented for extra care to be given to her husband in the days leading up to his death, and a care package was due to start the following Monday.

The Chief Coroner for Berkshire, Peter Bedford ruled Mr Townsend's death was the result of a road traffic collision.

Paying tribute to his father at the time of his death, Saul Townsend said: "Dad was an amazing man who could turn his hand to just about anything. After a long and successful career working for BT he changed direction to pursue his passion for films.

“For many years he was known throughout the dog obedience world as a real talent, both as a kennel club judge and as trainer. He worked on TV shows and in major films with a range of trained dogs and separately as a supporting artist.

“He was full of life, positive energy and as strong as an oak. His absence is felt by all who knew him and loved him, but the memories we have will offer us some comfort and will continue to give us strength in the days ahead.”