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A RESTAURANT manager who thought he had hit a deer on a dark forest road was told by police he had killed a young father-of-two.

Christian Montagnon, 51, was driving home from Resto Bistro in Epping High Street when his car struck 34-year-old Keith Scrivener as he reached the High Road.

During a hearing into his death at New Bridge House, Chelmsford, his wife of six years, Amy Scrivener, said she had seen her husband off from their home in Tycehurst Hill, Loughton, which they shared with their children, aged five and three at the time, at about noon on Friday, August 5.

“He had cleaned his shoes that day and looked incredibly smart,” she said. “I commented on how smart he looked.”

The last time she spoke to her husband was when he told her he was going for a drink with his old friend Paul Berwick in The City at about 5.30pm.

Mr Scrivener headed home at about 11pm and it is thought he fell asleep on the Tube back towards Loughton and decided to walk home along the High Road, which was one of his favourite jogging routes and ran past a friend’s home in Bell Common.

The inquest heard that Mr Montagnon thought he had hit a deer when hi s car struck Mr Scrivener between 12.30am and 1am.

“I was just driving and suddenly I got covered with glass from the opposite window,” he said. “There was a sound like I’d hit a deer – a deep sound.”

He said he had stopped to check the car and look for an injured animal at the side of the road before driving home and sending his son, Tommy Clark-Montagnon, to search again the same night, in case he needed a picture of the deer for his insurers.

After hearing there had been a fatal crash in the High Road on Sunday, he and his son drove to Loughton police station, hoping to make sure he had not hit a person, but he was questioned by police, who had found fragments of his car at the scene.

He was later released without charge.

When asked by Sefton Kwasnik, representing Mr Scrivener’s family, whether he accepted his car hit him, Mr Montagnon said: “There’s been some forensic (evidence) on the car, so I have to accept it.”

Recording a narrative verdict at the inquest on Tuesday, Ms Harrington said: “The impact was contributed to by the fact that the road was dark and unlit and the deceased was walking along the side of the road that didn’t have a pathway.”

Mr Scrivener was described by his family as an “amazing” father, who was very fit and had run a half marathon the year before last.

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