Man died after defective car hit him

RICHARD BATSON A shooting party beater died when a car skidded out of control on a wet road and hit him, a court heard yesterday. Seventy-three-year-old Desmond Hardesty from Poringland died in hospital from internal injuries suffered in the crash near Aylsham last September.

RICHARD BATSON

A shooting party beater died when a car skidded out of control on a wet road and hit him, a court heard yesterday.

Seventy-three-year-old Desmond Hardesty from Poringland died in hospital from internal injuries suffered in the crash near Aylsham last September.

Driver Derek Rowling, 49, from Martham, was fined £380 and given a maximum nine points on his licence for dangerous driving, and fined £125 for having a defective tyre, with £130 costs, after admitting both offences.

Mr Hardesty, from Rectory Lane, was among a group of beaters walking along the Buxton Road at the junction of Spratt's Green Lane near Aylsham at 2.15pm on September 25, prosecutor Fergus Harold told Cromer magistrates.

Rowling, in a P-registered green Ford Escort, came around the bend, saw them, braked, hit a bank and collided with the pedestrians.

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The beaters were obeying the Highway Code by walking in single file and facing the traffic. Rowling was not exceeding the 50mph speed limit, but was going "too fast for the wet conditions," the prosecutor added.

The car also had an offside front tyre with insufficient tread. It has passed an MOT test three to four weeks earlier, but was an action point highlighted at the time.

Mr Harrold said all the witnesses felt Rowling was going too quick for the wet road conditions.

Brian Alce, who was also injured but survived, told police he thought "he's going to hit me," before diving into a ditch, but was hit in the shoulder by the car. He suffered four broken ribs, a broken shoulder blade and fluid on the lungs.

Rowling's car ended upside down off the road.

Rob Barley, for Rowling, said that day before "unremarkably" but the consequences had a distressing effect on him.

He left work early for a doctor's appointment, and was doing about 40mph when he saw the pedestrians on the road. He braked, but the wheels locked up, partly because of the defective tyre.

Rowling was aware the tyre would need replacing but was waiting until his next pay day before doing so.

The offences "just crossed the cusp of carelessness" and Rowling was "not a man with a history of wanton or reckless driving."

He was just "an ordinary man going about his business" and was deeply remorseful, said Mr Barley.

Rowling, of Black Street, Martham, was divorced, living alone, and was a specialist chef who worked in residential care and psychiatric hospitals, and would lose his job if he lost his licence.

Chairman of the bench Tony Williams said they weighed up the tragic consequences, his driving in the bad conditions and failure to monitor the tyre, against his clean driving licence and remorse in reaching their sentencing.

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