An 87-year-old retired engineer who lived an active lifestyle deteriorated “off the scale” and later died after tripping over a mat left out by beer delivery drivers. 

At a three-day inquest into Roy Smith’s death, a jury heard conflicting accounts of the day the pensioner fell outside The Feather’s pub in Gorleston’s high street. 

His wife, Pauline Smith, of Sycamore Avenue, Bradwell, blamed the incident on an 18-inch-high mat left outside while beer kegs were being delivered.  

However, drayman John Birdseye, who was delivering the beer kegs insisted that Mr Smith fell to the ground after he “seemed to buckle at the waist.” 

Eastern Daily Press: Roy Smith died after falling over outside The Feathers pub in Gorleston

The incident happened last February while the Smiths were out for a walk together after catching a bus from Bradwell to Gorleston.  

Walking was a pastime the couple enjoyed almost daily.    

As they headed to Morrisons supermarket, a delivery of beer kegs was taking place outside The Feathers. While walking next to the delivery lorry, Mr Smith fell to the ground.   

He was taken to the James Paget Hospital where he was diagnosed with a broken hip and pelvis. He died two months later after his health deteriorated. 

Mrs Smith said: “Had he not tripped over the mat on the pavement, Roy would be sitting here beside me now, and we would still be enjoying life together.”  

Eastern Daily Press: The same mat Roy Smith tripped over

Deliveries made to the pub are carried out by GXO Logistics and are not the responsibility of the pub or its staff.  

At the time of the incident, no hazard signs were in place. The company now uses cones and bollard covers while delivering to The Feathers. 

After hearing the evidence, a jury of 11 deliberated at Norfolk Coroner’s Court for around four hours before agreeing unanimously that Mr Smith tripped on the mat.  

They gave a narrative conclusion, and the cause of death was given as “natural causes exacerbated by the accident on February 8, 2023.” 

Eastern Daily Press: The same mat Roy Smith tripped over

Area coroner Samantha Goward passed on her condolences to Mr Smith’s family. 

A GXO spokesperson said: “We have been supporting the investigation to establish the circumstances of an incident involving Mr Smith and we will continue to support the authorities with their investigations. 

“We extend our condolences to Mr Smith’s family.”