Delivery driver from Wigan admits causing pensioner's death at petrol station
A delivery driver from Wigan has admitted his carelessness behind the wheel caused the death of a pensioner who was knocked over at the entrance to a petrol station.
A court heard how Joseph Leech, 67, struck pedestrian Colin Jeffery as he pulled his Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van from a filter lane in Penrith, Cumbria, and into an Esso garage site in darkness just before 7am on January 28 last year.
Dash cam footage from Leech’s van captured the moment he struck 72-year-old Mr Jeffery - who was walking across the forecourt entrance - while travelling at 19mph. That speed, a police collision investigator concluded, was “excessive” for the approach.
“He has banged his head on the ground which caused the injury he has later died from,” prosecutor Amy Labram said of Mr Jeffery. He was treated by two doctors and transferred to
Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, where he sadly passed away a fortnight later, on 11th February.
Leech admitted causing death by careless driving when he appeared at North and West Cumbria Magistrates’ Court.
“Mr Leech has failed to fully assess his surroundings,” said Miss Labram.
Kristina Lancaster, defending, spoke of a “momentary lapse of concentration” by professional driver Leech at a location he knew well. He had not seen Mr Jeffery until the impact with his vehicle, his focus being trained on where he was going to park before buying a coffee.
“The offence itself has had a huge impact on him personally,” Miss Lancaster said of Leech. “He is incredibly remorseful. He fully accepts any impact this offence has had on him is nothing compared to the impact it has had on Mr Jeffery.”
In a moving victim impact statement, Mr Jeffery’s widow, Mary, told how her world had been “turned upside down” by the tragedy.
“His death has caused a great emotional strain on my life and has left a big hole in our hearts which can never be mended,” she said of a man she described as a “happy, friendly soul”.
“I can never forget his final goodbye on a simple, innocent trip to get a paper,” she added.
“I’m now wondering how I’m going to make it through life without him.”
A man of previous good character, Leech, of Whitecroft Road, Wigan, was made subject to a 12-month community order comprising 200 hours’ work, and banned from driving for 20 months.
“You should have seen him,” District Judge Gerald Chalk told Leech of Mr Jeffery. “You know that, and I suspect that will live with you for the rest of your life.”