A CORONER has said a momentary lapse in concentration likely led to a pensioner losing his life when he pulled into the path of a van on a major Hampshire road.

Eulogio Sanchez Candal was pronounced dead at the scene of the collision – on the A31 between Alresford and Winchester – after being hit side on by a van travelling at just under 60mph.

Winchester Coroner’s Court heard the 72-year-old had been travelling from the port at Portsmouth to his home in Wolverhampton on the afternoon of December 12 after visiting family his Spain.

He had been travelling along the A272 with his partner Marlene Harris in their Fiat Doblo after getting lost on the way back home. Witnesses travelling behind Mr Candal said he had been driving at around 40mph, despite the road having a speed limit of 60mph.

The inquest heard witness statements and saw dash cam footage that showed Mr Candal stop at the junction with the A31, also a 60mph road, before pulling into the path of a Volkswagen Crafter van.

Pathologist Dr Adnan Al-Badri gave a cause of death multiple injuries, adding a postmortem revealed a head injury and spinal fractures.

The van’s driver, 23-year-old Jack Phillips of Franklyn Avenue, Sholing, who was 22 at the time of the crash, told the inquest: “He pulled out in front of me and there was just no time to stop.

“There was no indication that he was going to do that.”

This was supported by his colleague at waste management firm Clearabee, Greg Holloway, who added in a police statement their van was “about 30 metres or less” from the junction, when the Mr Candal pulled out.

Forensic collision investigator for Hampshire Constabulary, PC Andrew Daw confirmed there would not have been enough time for Mr Phillips to react and avoid a collision.

The inquest heard Mr Phillips was subjected to roadside tests by police, which he passed. A police spokesman later confirmed he was arrested on suspicion of impairment, but was released with no further action taken.

Recording a conclusion of accidental death, assistant coroner Simon Burge said: “Mr Phillips, you probably feel you have somewhat been on trial. There was nothing you could have done.

“The fact you have been able to apply any braking at all is remarkable. You did what you could in that moment of horror.”