A MUCH-LOVED Stratford-upon-Avon police worker died due to an elderly driver’s “momentary inattention” in a tragic accident that could have happened to anyone, the Appeal Court in London heard today.
Paul Collins, aged 62, was riding his motorcycle home from Stratford Police Station when Anthony Brooker turned his Range Rover right across his path, giving him no chance to stop. Mr Collins died almost instantly in the collision.
In October last year, Brooker, 75, of Stratford Road, Ettington, admitted causing the family man’s death by careless driving and was given a community order and ordered to carry 200 hours of unpaid work. He was also banned from driving for two years and ordered to retake his driving test before being allowed back on the road.
Brooker, a former chairman of Stratford Town Management Partnership, is now appealing against the length of the ban and the requirement that he retake his test.
His barrister, Ian Bridge, said his client had been turning into his driveway as he had done hundreds of times before when disaster struck just before Chris-tmas in 2011. It was, he said, “a case of momentary inattention” and Brooker’s crime was “at the lowest end” of seriousness.
Mr Bridge added: “As with so many motorists, he simply cannot understand how he missed seeing the motorcyclist. He looked, but did not see. It was a mistake that any individual could have made on any day of the week while driving. This is a type of offence that anyone—there but for the grace of God—could commit.”
Brooker had admitted his guilt, felt deep remorse and was so desperately upset by Mr Collins’ death that he was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Living in a rural area with no other means of transport, Brooker desperately needed his licence, said Mr Bridge. He also held a private pilot’s licence and there was no question of him being unable to drive safely.
The length of the driving ban and the requirement to retake his test were “manifestly excessive,” Mr Bridge told Mr Justice Haddon-Cave.
The judge reserved his decision and will give his ruling at a later date.
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