Pensioner died at the wheel on the A21

A PENSIONER from Hastings may have suffered a heart attack days before his car careered off the road into a tree an inquest heard.

Robert Leach, 74, of St Helens Wood Road, had just been to pick up a wardrobe from a pine shop in Flimwell when the tragedy happened.

Sitting at Hastings Magistrates Court on Tuesday, East Sussex Coroner Alan Craze heard how Mr Leach’s car was seen by witnesses clip the kerb and at 12.35pm on April 30 then going across the A21 road at the junction with A229 Merriments Lane near Hurst Green.

Paramedics found the retired builder dead behind the wheel of his Hyundai Santa Fe 4x4 vehicle.

They carried out 15 minutes of resuscitation before a doctor declared him dead at the scene.

The court head a post-mortem was carried out by Doctor Kerry Sleigh, pathologist at the Conquest Hospital.

She concluded Mr Leach had died from a heart attack due to natural coronary disease.

His right coronary artery was blocked.

It was possible the attack happened four or five days earlier but he had not been aware.

He had been suffering from high cholesterol and prescribed statins.

Mr Craze said Mr Leach would have been at high risk of an “episode on his heart.”

Under the new Coroners Rules which came into force last month, Mr Craze concluded that Mr Leach had died from natural causes.

Speaking outside court, Mr Leach’s partner Patrick Swan, said: “Robert was a very kind man.

“He was very well liked in the street where we lived.

“He had collected a wardrobe from Flimwell.

“He was ok when he left the shop.

“He had been doing building work on the house in the morning.

“He had high cholesterol but was very active for his age.

“He looked after himself and looked more like 55.”