Elderly driver accused of causing death of motorcyclist not to stand trial until next year - The Rugby Observer

Elderly driver accused of causing death of motorcyclist not to stand trial until next year

Rugby Editorial 9th Apr, 2020   0

AN ELDERLY driver accused of causing the death of a motorcyclist by pulling out of a side road into his path will not stand trial until early next year.

Mavis Witts is alleged to have caused the death of 51-year-old Stephen Ferguson on Easter Sunday, April 21, last year on the A45 near Rugby by careless driving.

The tragic collision between Mr Ferguson’s powerful BMW S1000 RR motorbike and her Renault Kangoo took place at the A45 crossroads with Longdown Lane and Woolscott Road at shortly after 4pm.

Mr Ferguson, from Long Lawford, Rugby, was rushed to hospital where he sadly died.




The case had been listed for a plea and trial preparation hearing to take place at Warwick Crown Court.

But, in common with all defendants on bail during the Covid-19 health crisis, 82-year-old Ms Witts, of Vicarage Road, Flecknoe, near Daventry, was not required to attend.


Judge Andrew Lockhart QC remarked: “Plainly we cannot have an accused with vulnerability attending on bail in the current climate.”

He pointed out: “In the event it is indicated that there is to be a plea of guilty, credit will run from the day that is indicated.”

But Michael Rawlinson, defending, said the defence had instructed a collision investigator top prepare a report, but that ‘in the current circumstances’ he had not been able to inspect the scene or the two vehicles.

The judge observed that Ms Witts had driven across the main carriageway, but Mr Rawlinson said an issue the case would be ‘the capability of the motorcyclist to be seen.’

And he said that point would be ‘contingent on the second matter, which is the motorcyclist’s speed,’ adding: “The number of seconds this motorcyclist was capable of being seen is directly related to his speed.”

Judge Lockhart commented: “She knows full well, 82 or not, whether she made a mistake or not.”

On the basis that Ms Witts would plead not guilty, he said the trial, with a time estimate of three days, would be listed to begin on January 4 next year.

But he directed that there should be a pre-trial review ‘sooner rather than later,’ and said that should take place in July, adding: “The accused should attend, subject to the lockdown being lifted by then.”

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