HE was described as a loving son who would go out of his way to help others.
But the life of Gerard Shiel was tragically cut short when he was hit by a car and killed.
An inquest into his death revealed that the car driver had been drinking before he struck the 23-year-old at Almondbury Bank in Moldgreen in the early hours of August 14.
But Mr Shiel had also been drinking and was lying down in the road when driver Jason Hughes mistook his body for a bag of rubbish and swerved to avoid him.
Yesterday his family painted a picture of a loving young man who had a troubled time but had been trying to get his life back on track before his death.
He had been due to collect the keys for his new flat in Lindley and hoped to start a new job after getting his forklift truck licence.
But before his death he found out he had been kicked off his training course and started drinking heavily.
He was alone in the road at around 2.30am when he was hit by the silver Vauxhall Corsa.
Retired engineer Michael Hodge saw Mr Shiel from his bedroom window in the minutes before he was hit.
He said in a statement: “I was woken up by a voice shouting and I looked out of the window and saw a man walking up the road.
“He was in the middle of the road and appeared to be drunk. I watched him for about 20 yards.
“I then heard a loud bang, a screech of brakes and then another bang”.
A post mortem examination showed that Mr Shiel died from multiple injuries.
He was described as ‘significantly’ intoxicated at the time of his death.
Pathologist Peter Vanezis said the level of alcohol would have had a significant affect on his motor and cognitive functions.
Sheila Shiel told how the family had moved from Dublin to Huddersfield when her son was four months old.
She said her family had a difficult start to life, as her alcoholic husband left her and she had to cope alone with three young children.
She said: “Gerard was cheeky and funny. He was always messing around with his brother and sister and once got hold of a can of oil to put in his sister’s hair.
“He left home at 17 and started smoking and drinking with friends. He got in trouble with police. But when he wasn’t drinking he would do things like help with all the garden and when his brother got a house he decorated it.”
Driver Mr Hughes, 21, of Rydale Drive, said a statement: “I was coming down the road when about three metres away I saw an object in the road.
“I thought it was a bag of rubbish. I tried to get around it but as I swerved the car came off two wheels and we ended up going across the road, hitting the kerb and then a wall”.
Mr Hughes said that he had drunk six bottles of beer but these were spread out over nine hours.
Mr Hughes was arrested and charged with drink driving. Earlier this year he pleaded guilty at Huddersfield magistrates and was fined and banned from driving.
Crash investigator Russell Windross said the road had been wet and overgrown trees would have cast light and dark shadows across the carriageway making it difficult for the driver to see Mr Shiel until he was close to him.
Coroner Paul Marks recorded a verdict of accidental death.