A 20-year-old student was killed after running into the path of an HGV following a heavy night of drinking, an inquest heard.
Despite his quick reactions, driver Thomas Minta was unable to avoid George who sadly died from multiple injuries at the scene.
George, a journalism student at Staffordshire University, had previously seen a GP for ‘anxiety and low mood’ as he had not been enjoying his course but had denied any thoughts of self-harm and his father Paul told the inquest his son had ‘almost drawn a line’ under those issues.
George, who is survived by brother Harry, had hoped to switch to a graphic design course but in the meantime had returned home and was working in the George and Dragon at Tarvin.
Described as a ‘well-liked student’ by the head of journalism, his father said George was ‘very happy’ when his wife Gaynor watched him getting ready to go out the night before the fatal collision.
Coroner Nicholas Rheinberg said a toxicology report revealed the deceased must have drunk ‘a huge amount of alcohol’.
It was clear George had run in front of the lorry but there was insufficient evidence to conclude he had taken his own life.
Mr Rheinberg reached his verdict that as a matter of fact the deceased died as a result of a road traffic accident.
A friend who also worked at the village pub recalled in a statement that he often socialised with George and his girlfriend Polly Gentle whom George had met at university.
On the evening of Thursday, March 3, the two enjoyed a drink at The George before going into Chester city centre after making arrangements to meet a friend, Bethany Mitchell, and another friend named Holly there.
Speaking about the earlier part of the evening at The George, he said: “During the evening between 6pm and 11pm we had around 10 shots each. They were three absinthe, three Smirnoff Gold and four Jack Daniels. We also had a pitcher of cheeky Vimto, which is a rum and blue WKD mix, and around six to eight bottles of Resolution beer.
“On a scale of one to ten, one being sober and 10 being blind drunk, I would say I was about an eight and I would say George was also about an eight.”
Once in Chester they met friends at Off the Wall but George was asked to leave by security and ended up ‘arguing with door staff’ outside.
George then went to Rosies nightclub alone but he met up with him inside later. However, George was ‘taken out of the fire exit by the doormen’.
The inquest heard George went off in a taxi with friend Bethany Mitchell and in the words of the coroner they ‘crashed out’ in a barn at Bethany’s old home about three miles from Tarvin.
She recalled he left about 5.30am dressed in his clothes from the night before, a t-shirt with a checked shirt on top, on what was a cold morning.
Following concerns, his anxious friends would later help in the search for George before it emerged he had been killed.
There were footwear marks suggesting George had been sitting on a barrier under a bridge over the A49 swinging his legs shortly before the collision.
Lorry driver Thomas Minta, who gave evidence, was cleared of any blame during the accident which happened during sleeting conditions.
He told the inquest: “I was travelling down the hill towards the roundabout which joins the A51. I was approaching the bridge, slowing down as I knew the roundabout was coming up, when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a figure of a man run out in front of me.
“I tried swerve out of the way but I couldn't.”
The coroner said it was unclear why George had decided to walk off at 5.30am but speculated he may have been aware his parents would be concerned as to his whereabouts.
He said: “He was unsuitably dressed for the weather conditions, quite suitably dressed for what he had planned, travelling by car or by taxi, but not for a walk home.”
The coroner added: “Exactly what he was doing is not known. Mr Heath, George’s father, wonders if he was going for an aimless walk, perhaps walking off the effects of alcohol. He must have drunk a huge amount of alcohol.”
Mr Rheinberg continued: “George was still under the influence of alcohol, quite substantially, he was also inevitably frozen and people’s brain function is severely affected by the effects of extreme cold.”
“Did he at that split second decide to think right, this is silly, I’m going home, jumped up and run across the road oblivious of this lorry hurtling down towards him? Quite possible.”