Grandfather died after bike fall in St Austell Halfords

Peter Norton Image copyright SWNS
Image caption Staff heard a screech as Peter Norton rode out of sight in the store

A 79-year-old grandfather died after falling off a new bike he was testing in a Halfords store.

Retired shopkeeper Peter Norton, who was not wearing a helmet, suffered a brain injury in the fall at the shop in St Austell, Cornwall.

A coroner said his death was an accident but recommended that Halfords have a separate area for testing and ask customers to wear helmets.

Halfords, which broke no safety rules, said it was reviewing its procedures.

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Mr Norton had brought the bike back to the store in September 2016 for some work on the gears, the inquest in Truro heard.

Staff invited him to try it out and sales assistant Matthew Noy said he watched Mr Norton ride towards the till area until he was out of sight.

He said he then heard a screech, which he assumed was Mr Norton braking, as he took a tumble.

Swollen cut

He said: "I asked if there was anything I could do and he said no. He was red in the face but I assumed that it was because he was embarrassed."

Mr Norton's wife said she noticed a slightly swollen cut on his forehead after they left the shop.

After they got home he went for a lie down but several hours later he became unresponsive and never regained consciousness.

The cause of death was a brain haemorrhage.

Mr Norton's son Chris, 51, said after the inquest: "You're far more likely to hit your head with all the shelves and bikes and pointing out bits. In theory, they should've looked after him."

Halfords said it was "deeply saddened by this tragic accident" and their "thoughts and condolences are with the family of Mr Norton".

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