THE death of a young man crushed under the wheel of a taxi was a “terrible tragic accident”, a coroner has ruled.

Christopher Donaghy, 24, died after he fell into the road near Museum Gardens, York, and was run over by a taxi.

Mr Donaghy's father Dave Donaghy paid tribute to his “kind-hearted” son after yesterday's inquest into his death.

Christopher Donaghy, who worked at IPS First's packaging plant at Nestlé, York, was with 48-year-old nurse Audrey Fernie, from the Edinburgh area, when he was killed on on September 3, 2011.

The pair had met earlier in the day and had been drinking in pubs around York, the inquest heard, and the coroner, Donald Coverdale, said Mrs Fernie had lied to the inquest about how much she had drunk.

The pair were standing on the corner of Museum Street and Lendal when they fell into the road, witnesses said.

A taxi turning left from Lendal ran over Mrs Fernie before pedestrians shouted at the driver to stop, and the car's front wheel came to rest on Mr Donaghy’s chest.

Dozens of passers-by rushed to help, lifting the vehicle off the young man's body.

Police and ambulances were on the scene within minutes and Mr Donaghy was taken to York District Hospital, but he died from multiple injuries later that evening.

The taxi driver Dinumon Abraham was blameless in the accident, York Coroner Donald Coverdale said.

Giving evidence, Traffic Constable Stuart Langford said there was no way Mr Abraham could have seen the pair as they lay in the road in front of his car.

The street was busy with pedestrians and cars, and the couple toppled on to the carriageway as Mr Abraham looked right to check for oncoming traffic. By the time he looked back to his left and moved out into the road they were hidden in the blind spot in front of his car's bonnet.

“In effect, the collision was unavoidable,” TC Langford said.

Mr Donaghy was in the city for a day out with friends when they met Mrs Fernie and a friend. Witnesses said the group drank together in the city centre before Mrs Fernie and Mr Donaghy had a sexual encounter in pub toilets and were asked to leave The Graduate pub for behaving inappropriately.

Mrs Fernie denied the account and denied being drunk, but the coroner criticised Mrs Fernie's evidence, saying: “It is clear she has lied to me. She has pretended she had only six glasses of wine, but it is clear she had three bottles. I find her an utterly incredible witness.”

Mr Donaghy Snr, his brother and sister Mike and Kirsty Donaghy and Chris’s sister Rebecca Snow were all at the inquest. Chris was a “fit young lad, and full of fun,” he said, and his son’s death has devastated the close family as well as Chris's friends.

“He was very popular, had lots of friends. He was very loving and caring as well.”