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20 December 2013, 17:07
The family of a frail pensioner who died after a hit and run in Poole are urging the driver involved to do the right thing and come forward.
Christopher Colegate’s daughters, Rachel Hayward and Tash Motton, issued their appeal at a press conference alongside their mother, and Mr Colegate’s wife, Freda Colegate.
Officers were called at 7.25pm on Friday 13 December 2013 to the collision at the junction of Darby’s Lane and Heath Avenue in Poole where a pedestrian had been left fatally injured in the road.
Mr Colegate, 69, from Poole, was walking along Darby’s Lane when he was tragically struck by a vehicle which failed to stop at the scene. He suffered significant injuries and was taken to Poole Hospital but sadly later died.
Mr Colegate was frail, walked with a distinctive stoop and used two walking sticks to aid his mobility.
The press conference was held at Oakdale Conservative Club in Darby’s Lane where Mr Colegate was a regular and was walking toward when he was struck.
Reading from a family statement, daughter Rachel Motton said:
“Words cannot convey how our family is feeling since the events of last Friday night. An innocent husband, dad and grandpa – Chris Colegate – was taken from us in such a horrific way.
“Despite his chronic disabilities, our dad remained independent and as active as possible. He was well-known in the community and would do anything for us, his family and friends. This has been reflected in the numerous expressions of condolence we have already received from friends and strangers alike.
“Last Friday, Dad was making his way to the Conservative club. It’s a walk he has made on a regular basis.
“We now know that before reaching the club, he was knocked down by a car and left dying in the road.
“The collision itself may well have been a genuine accident but we are all struggling to come to terms with the fact that the driver of that car did not stop following the collision. The driver could have gone to his aid; could have called for help but instead, thought only of themselves and selfishly fled the scene.”
Daughter Tash Motton said:
“We would now appeal to that driver to come forward and contact the police. As hard as it is for our family, you also must be struggling to live with what you have done. What if it was your partner, your parent, your child? Could you really cope with that loss and the additional knowledge that the driver fled?
“We were really looking forward to Christmas. It should have been a happy end to what has already been a difficult year for the family.
“Now, without Dad, there will be an empty chair around the table on Christmas Day and unopened presents under the tree. We now live with the knowledge that every Christmas is going to be a reminder of this tragic incident. The ache in our hearts will never go away.
“If you were this driver, or you know who the driver was, please, please have the courage and decency to come forward and contact the police. It won’t bring Dad back but it would give us a small crumb of comfort and help us come to terms with what has happened.”
A dedicated team of officers from Dorset Police’s Traffic Unit are investigating the incident.
Police Sergeant Stuart Pitman, of Dorset Police’s Traffic Unit, said:
“I am still keen to speak to the drivers of three vehicles that were seen in the area at the time of the collision. A silver family sized saloon/hatchback car travelling in Darby’s Lane toward Johnston Road, a Honda Civic type vehicle travelling from Darby’s Lane into Popes Road and a medium sized light-coloured family car which travelled along Heath Avenue toward Wimborne Road at speed.
"I urge these drivers to please come forward so we can eliminate you from the investigation.”
A small ‘city car’ that travelled along Heath Avenue and turned right into Darby’s Lane has been traced.
“I would also like to trace a male pedestrian walking along Darby’s Lane toward Johnston Road who passed Mr Colegate shortly before the collision. This pedestrian was wearing a grey hooded top with the hood up.
“Finally I urge the driver involved in this road traffic collision: please find it in your heart to come forward, particularly for the family at this time of year. The net is closing in; we will find you. Do the right thing and call Dorset Police.”
The charity Crimestoppers has offered a reward of up to £1,000 for information that leads to the arrest and charge of an offender. Members of the public will only be eligible for the crash reward if they call the Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111.
Witnesses and anyone with information should call Dorset Police in confidence on 101 quoting incident number 13:478. Alternatively, call the free and anonymous Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111 where mobile phone tariffs may apply.