Widow has no grudge against young driver

PUBLISHED: 08:15 01 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:56 22 October 2010


A grieving widow yesterday handed a letter to a teenage driver who caused the accident in which her husband died - reassuring him she bore no grudge against him.

A grieving widow yesterday handed a letter to a teenage driver who caused the accident in which her husband died - reassuring him she bore no grudge against him.

Moments before the start of an inquest into the death of her husband Kenneth, Pat Larwood gave the letter to 18-year-old Edward Botwright, telling him she did not blame him for the tragedy. She then spoke to him to say she harboured no feelings of bitterness.

During the hearing, Mrs Larwood, 67, was also singled out for praise by Norwich coroner William Armstrong after telling him beforehand that she “felt sorry” for Mr Botwright, who had been driving for less than a year prior to the crash.

The inquest heard that Mr Botwright lost control of his car while driving along the A140 at Marsham, near Aylsham, last September.

Witnesses said Mr Botwright's Rover, which was one of a line of cars coming from the Norwich direction, veered one way then another until it crossed into the opposite lane, clipping one car before crashing into the one driven by Mr Larwood.

The inquest heard Mr Larwood was returning home to Hellesdon, near Norwich, after taking his neighbour, who was recovering from an operation, out for the afternoon. He died from his injuries three days later at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

PC Gary Knevitt, of Norfolk police's crash investigation unit, said the erratic driving described by witnesses appeared to be consistent with someone falling asleep at the wheel. Mr Botwright's car was not found to be defective.

But Mr Botwright, from Marsham, who expressed how sorry he was to Mr Larwood's family for his death, told the hearing the car had started to veer by itself and that he was not able to control it.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Mr Armstrong said: “He [Mr Botwright] lost control of his vehicle and that may have come about as a result of a lapse of concentration on his part.

“It is to his credit that he pleaded guilty and I am very conscious of the fact that he has expressed his remorse.”

Mr Armstrong said he also wanted to point out that Mrs Larwood's first thoughts expressed to him were that she felt sorry for Mr Botwright. “I am personally deeply moved by the fact that Mrs Larwood and her family have made the decision that they are not going to spend the rest of their lives nurturing a grievance about the tragedy and want obviously to move on but at the same time treasure many happy memories over the years they have spent together.”

In March at Norwich Magistrates Court, Mr Botwright had pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention and was fined £500 as well as being disqualified for a year.

After yesterday's hearing Mrs Larwood told the EDP: “He is a young man and he has got a long way to go. There is no point feeling bitter. We have to move on and so does he.”

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