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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 May, 2005, 14:28 GMT 15:28 UK
Hit-and-run 'tale of inhumanity'
Mark Flanagan
Mr Flanagan, who died in June 2004, had five brothers and sisters
A man who ran out of taxi fare after a stag night was hit by four different vehicles as he walked along a dual carriageway, an inquest has heard.

No-one involved stopped to help in what the deputy coroner of Merthyr Tydfil called a "tale of inhumanity".

One motorist pulled over to remove clothing from the front of his car before driving off.

Mark Flanagan, 31, of Rhymney Valley, was killed on the A465 last June. An accidental death verdict was recorded.

The inquest was told Mr Flanagan was initially hit by a Mitsubishi Shogun Pinin, driven by David Davies, a Merthyr shopkeeper.

Mr Davies, 58, who had been on a Saturday night out in Swansea, told the court on Wednesday that he heard a "big bang" and noticed his wing mirror had fallen off.

"I didn't see anyone in front of me and I didn't feel anything," he said. "There was no-one in my line of view."

The coroner asked him why he did not stop and he said he dismissed the fact that there was someone in the middle of nowhere "miles from anywhere in the pitch dark".

But the accident had been witnessed by four people in a jeep, which was travelling behind the Mitsubishi.

Driver Sean Williams said he had seen the Shogun overtake them and then saw an object flying into the air.

"I didn't see brake lights and it didn't stop," said Mr Williams. "I swerved and then I shouted - I think he's just hit someone."

They decided to try to get the registration details but as they were on their way their vehicle broke down and they called the police.

I was hysterical - I didn't know what to do, so I got back in the car and drove off"
Motorist Amy Hamber

In the meantime, Mr Flanagan was hit by a minibus, being driven by Emlyn Gardiner, from Tredegar, who was carrying passengers back from a night out in Swansea.

He said he thought he had driven over a black bin bag and his passengers said that they were all woken up after a "large bump".

Then Amy Hamber, 19, at the time a barmaid from Blaina, was in a Peugeot 205, with friends when she thought she had hit a speed bump before realising it was a body.

"I knelt down by him and put my hand on his arm and then I panicked," she told the inquest.

"I was hysterical. I didn't know what to do, so I got back in the car and drove off."

She then went on to a house party before going to a police station the next day with her father.

A fourth motorist, Geraint Davies, a 20-year-old factory worker, from Gelli, Rhondda, reduced his speed and saw what he thought was a bag of rubbish in the road.

He told the inquest that "just before I went over it, I knew it was a body".

He said his girlfriend and friend were both hysterical at this point and so he drove off.

Mr Davies added: "A few yards up the road, I found something under the car, so I stopped and there was clothing under the front wheel, so I managed to pull it out and kicked it to the side of the road."

He did not report the accident to the police until the following Tuesday.

Jeff Thomas, Deputy Coroner of Merthyr Tydfil, said it "was a tale of inhumanity involving a cast of four".

He said he would be writing to the Crown Prosecution Service in an effort to re-evaluate the case.

Pathologist Dr Deborah Cooke said the cause of death was multiple injuries.

Although the victim was the equivalent of three and a half times the drink-drive limit, she concluded that he had been standing at the time of the first impact and had been hit from behind.

Apologised

The court also heard that Mr Flanagan had been out in Swansea on a stag night with his brothers and friends when he became separated and tried to get a taxi back to his home in Fochrhiw.

But he only had 33 on him and the taxi driver Peter Davies quoted him a fare of up to 60.

Mr Flanagan had initially declined the taxi but later on, Mr Davies spotted him and he agreed to take him as far as his money would allow him.

He was dropped at a spot known near Glynneath, on a slip-road near the main Heads of the Valleys road.

Taxi driver Mr Davies, 47, from Swansea, during the inquest apologised to the family and said: "This is something I have got to deal with for the rest of my life. If I could turn back the clock, I'd have taken the gentleman all the way home."

After the inquest, Mr Flanagan's sister Sandra Kent said the motorists who drove off "should be disgusted with themselves".



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