Neighbours plea for action after Clayhall pothole death

DISTRAUGHT neighbours are pleading for action to stop another fatal tragedy following the death of an 89-year-old a day after suffering severe facial injuries in a pothole fall.

Violet Cole was just feet away from her home in Herent Drive, Clayhall, when her walking trolley got caught in a pothole and sent her flying face-first towards the pavement.

The mum-of-one was left with a broken nose, dislocated shoulder, two black eyes and cuts to her hand after Monday’s fall.

As friends gathered by her bedside at Whipps Cross Hospital, Leytonstone, on Tuesday night, Mrs Cole suffered a heart attack and died.

Fighting back tears as she spoke to the Recorder yesterday (Weds), friend Trudy Hollens, 60, said: “She was saying she was frightened.

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“She was saying ‘let me go’ and I said ‘we’ll let you go if that’s what you want’. Then she said ‘let me sleep’ and she left us.”

Now Trudy and other friends who live in nearby sheltered housing complex Stoneleigh Court are calling on Redbridge Council to repair the pothole-ridden road.

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The through-road – which has no name but connects Herent Drive with Lord Avenue – is often lined with cars parked on the narrow pavement, forcing people to venture into the treacherous road.

Miss Hollens said: “I can do nothing for my friend now, but I can make sure it doesn’t happen again. It’s so hazardous here.”

Pat Spence, 72, said: “It’s just tragic to think this has happened when we’ve reported the road to the council so many times.

“A lot of people use this road and it’s very dangerous.”

Mrs Cole had just returned home from paying her club money in at the social club in Stoneleigh Court when the accident happened.

The pensioner, described by friend Bridget Byrne, 69, as “a true lady” who was “part of the community”, enjoyed knitting, played bingo and went to The Drive Methodist Church, The Drive, Ilford, every Sunday.

A Redbridge Council spokesman said: “Firstly, we’d like to say we are sorry to hear about this tragic incident and our thoughts are with family and friends at this difficult time.

“The initial report suggests the lady fell in this road and we are therefore carrying out a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding this incident and until this is completed it would be inappropriate to comment at this moment in time.”

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