HE was the good Samaritan who stopped to help others following a crash in the New Forest.

Graham Manning, a pensioner from Poole, died while trying to direct traffic on the A35 near Burley, an inquest at Winchester Coroners Court heard.

The 71-year-old, of Jacqueline Road, was driving with his partner when he saw a car had come off the road onto a verge at around 5pm on December 27 last year.

In his efforts to assist the flow of vehicles following the incident, he was then hit by a second car, a silver Mitsubishi Space Star.

He died at the scene from a severe fracture to his skull.

Mr Manning's partner, Pauline Nicholson, told the court: "Graham would do anything for anybody. He didn't have a lot of money but he would always be there to help people.

"He would never have thought of driving straight by. That is just the sort of person he was really."

Speaking about the incident, she said: "I heard two very dull thuds. I turned around and saw Graham's high visibility vest being carried along by a car at road height."

In a statement read in court, John Tees, the driver of the first vehicle that came off the road, said: "A man and a woman arrived, the man moved into the road to direct traffic. I sat and suddenly heard a bang and saw the lady was distraught, screaming I think. I concluded that he was struck by something. The gentleman who was struck was terribly unfortunate."

Martyn Bowden, a passer-by, said: " I saw a set of hazard lights on, and some extremely poor high visibility jackets.

"I thought to myself, "This guy is going to get himself killed."

Lucian Delaloi, the driver of the Mitsubishi, told the court: "I could see a couple of people on the side of the road.

"In a millisecond a gentleman had stepped onto the road in front of me.

"All I recollect is the impact, it has destroyed me, I am sorry."

A report by PC Clifford read in court confirmed that because Mr Manning's high visibility jacket did not fully do up, only a small portion of reflective strip would be visible, which would not be sufficient for drivers to identify pedestrians.

Central Hampshire coroner Grahame Short described Mr Manning's actions as "misguided."

"There was room for traffic in both directions to pass," he said.

"Graham placed himself in a vulnerable position in a situation which would put him at high risk when he stepped into the road."

He recorded a verdict of death from head injuries due to a road traffic collision.