An 81-year-old man died after falling or being knocked over by a vehicle his wife was driving.
Coroner David Crerar said, in his formal written findings, that John Stephen Leask, of Stewart Island, had been standing beside a car being driven by his wife when it reversed, causing him to be either knocked over or to fall to the ground on August 2 last year.
Mr Leask was taken to Southland Hospital and treated for head and brain injuries but died on August 4.
At the inquest Mr Leask's wife said she and her husband went to a shop in Spey St on August 2.
She stayed in the car while her husband went into the shop.
The car engine was running and in reverse gear, and her foot was on the brake, the written findings say.
When Mr Leask returned to the car he told his wife its lights were on and leaned in to the vehicle to check, the findings say.
She told the inquest she did not know where her husband went after that.
Witness Sandra Dennis said she heard a "banging" and saw Mr Leask's head and shoulders fall onto the front panel of the vehicle by the front right wheel.
Another witness, Deborah Brown, said she saw Mr Leask at the driver's door of the vehicle before the BMW reversed quickly, taking him with it.
Mr Crerar said Mr Leask may have been pushed by the exterior rear-view mirror and his ability to move away could also have been compromised.
"I am satisfied that the movement of the car driven by Airdry Dyson-Leask caused or contributed to the fall and eventually to the death of John Leask."
Mr Crerar said it would have been a better option for Mrs Dyson-Leask to have stopped the car and put it in park to ensure it did not move.
Police could not establish what caused Mr Leask to fall and no corroborating evidence on the panels of the BMW was found which would indicate it had struck Mr Leask, the coroner's findings say.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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