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Hit-and-run ‘weasel’ with 11 previous driving bans left 87-year-old injured in road

PUBLISHED: 11:45 29 September 2018 | UPDATED: 09:30 30 September 2018

Brian Mitchell. Photo courtesy of Allison Small.

Brian Mitchell. Photo courtesy of Allison Small.

Archant

A driver who knocked down a great-grandfather and left him for dead in the road has been jailed for 15 months.

Norwich Crown Court heard how Graham Brooks was driving through Lowestoft at midnight when he hit 87-year-old Brian Mitchell, who died months later – just three days before Christmas.

Brooks, 60, who had obtained insurance, despite not having reapplied for his driving licence following a previous ban – one of 11 disqualifications – failed to stop or report the incident. Mr Mitchell was found an hour after he was hit.

For nine months after the incident on November 15 last year, Brooks denied he was involved, telling police he had not been at the scene, and that damage to his car had been caused by another incident.

Police launched a further investigation when Mr Mitchell, born and bred in Lowestoft, died in hospital three days before Christmas last year, due to a bleed on the brain.

Brooks, of Max Carter Close, Worstead, pleaded guilty to perverting the court of justice, furnishing false information to obtain insurance, and failing to stop and report an incident, when he attended court in March this year.

David Stewart, in mitigation, said Brooks, a pizza delivery driver, “started down a road he couldn’t turn back on”.

Peter Gair, prosecuting, said: “The post-mortem examination shows that Mr Mitchell died as a result of a knock to the head. However whether it was this incident or a later fall in hospital which led to his death cannot be determined.”

Brooks had been disqualified from driving 11 times, most recently in 2012.

Judge Holt told the court how Mr Mitchell’s wife “doesn’t understand that he’s dead, and still waits for him to come home”.

Sentencing Brooks, he added: “Because of your lies and you stringing this out, you have caused Mr Mitchell’s family much distress.

“Mr Mitchell was a hard working, decent, and loved man. I hope that this hearing can bring them some closure.”

Brooks was sentenced to nine months in prison for perverting the court of justice, three months for obtaining insurance without a licence, and three months concurrently for failing to stop and report the incident.

Family: ‘We have to explain to mum every time that he’s not coming home’

Brian Mitchell’s children said “no sentence would be long enough” for Graham Brooks.

Daughter Allison Small, from Lowestoft, said: “Dad was the sort of man that if he had seen that weasel broken down on the side of the road, would’ve pushed his car to a safer place.

“In court they spoke about the impact it’ll have on Brooks’ wife. She’ll get her husband back after seven-and-a-half months, but my mum will never get my dad back.

“Dad was the sole carer for our mum. We’ve now had to put her into sheltered accommodation because she’s deteriorated so much, and have to explain every time we see her why dad isn’t coming home for tea.”

Brother Graham Mitchell said: “We don’t have a single photo of him where he wasn’t smiling or laughing, even in hospital. We’d like to thank officers Scott Lee-Amies, Callum Walchester, and Barry Teare for their help, they’ve been fantastic.”

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