A DEVASTATED family say their lives have been “forever shattered” after a loving father was struck by a car and killed while returning home from a night out.

When the driver of a passing Ford Fiesta spotted Daniel Lawrence, 33, staggering along Colchester Road, in Thorpe, under the cover of darkness, she took action to warn approaching cars.

While her partner called the police, the witness drove alongside Mr Lawrence, flashing her headlights to alert approaching vehicles.

Unfortunately tragedy could not be avoided and an approaching Citreon struck the wandering father-of-three.

Mr Lawrence, from Clacton, was airlifted to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge, but died the following day.

Essex Police were first called to the scene at around 10.20pm on November 2.

CCTV shows Mr Lawrence left the Crown Pub, in Thorpe, before beginning his trek home.

Giving evidence at an inquest into Mr Lawrence’s death, forensic crash investigator PC Alan Barlow said there were no road defects or issues with the car involved in the crash.

A pathologist recorded the cause of death as traumatic head injuries.

The inquest, held at Chelmsford Coroner’s Court, heard it was likely the Citreon driver was “well within” the speed limit at the time of the crash.

PC Barlow said: “This incident is further complicated by the presence and actions of the witnesses.

“They were no doubt acting with the best intentions, but were also a source of distraction - drawing attention away from the pedestrian on the other side of the road.

“The flashing of a bright light source in an otherwise dark environment desensitises the human eye.”

Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray recorded a conclusion that Mr Lawrence died as a result of a road traffic collision.

He leaves behind a widow and three young children.

Turning to Mr Lawrence’s widow, Mrs Beasley-Murray said: “Not only have you lost him, but you have had to sit through an inquest this afternoon and you have done that in a very dignified way.

“I hope you will be able to think back on the happy memories you have of him.”

In a statement, the family said: “Throughout the course of the police investigation we have learned there were a catalogue of events that occurred that evening and consequently a number of factors that contributed towards Dan’s tragic death.

“We will continue to remember and cherish the Dan we all knew and loved, who worked so hard in all aspects of his life.

“He was taken far too soon and our lives have been forever shattered.

“Thank you to all those who offered their help at the scene and to all the emergency services who assisted.”