Drug driver was speeding when he collided with Melton pedestrian - court is told

Accident investigation officers at the scene of the fatal collision in Melton on November 15, 2013 EMN-150821-171259001
Accident investigation officers at the scene of the fatal collision in Melton on November 15, 2013 EMN-150821-171259001
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A drug driver was speeding when he crashed into and killed a pedestrian in Melton - a court has heard.

Godfread Housen (41), who appeared at Leicester Crown Court today (Friday, August 21), had already pleaded guilty to causing the death of 79-year-old Melton man Brian Sheldon by careless driving while being unfit to drive through drugs.

Brian Sheldon (79), of Bishop Street, Melton, who died on Saturday, November 16, 2013 EMN-150821-171657001

Brian Sheldon (79), of Bishop Street, Melton, who died on Saturday, November 16, 2013 EMN-150821-171657001

The court had also previously heard that Housen, of Doctors Lane, Melton, had smoked cannabis on the day of the crash and had consumed a drink containing the drug, causing his driving to be impaired, before the collision.

Mr Sheldon, of Bishop Street, had been heading to a friend’s house for tea when the crash happened at a crossing on Saxby Road on the night of November 15, 2013.

Mr Sheldon, who was a member of the Melton Royal British Legion and an ex-member of the Melton Conservative Club, was taken to Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre where he died the next day.

More details about the collision and Housen’s alleged manner of driving were aired at today’s court hearing.

Prosecutor Alex Young said: “At the point of impact the defendant was doing 37.5mph in a 30mph speed limit and he was accelerating until the moment of collision.

“The defendant is not suggesting he had no time to react. On the crown’s evidence if he’d been going at a constant 37mph as he approached the crossing that would have given him five seconds of clear vision of the crossing before the point of impact.

“This was more than momentary inattention. The defendant was clearly approaching the junction and should have been able to see anyone there if he was being careful.”

Tim Bowden, defending, said: “I can’t say this was momentary inattention. This isn’t a case where he has seen the pedestrian waiting at the side of the road - he didn’t see him anywhere.

“As he came around the corner he had the lights of the crossing in view for some seconds. At the time of braking, split seconds before impact, the defendant was going a 37.5mph, which is over the speed limit, and he had accelerated to that speed having seen the lights change to green.”

The court was told that Housen had between two and five microgrammes of cannabis per litre of blood in his system (five houres after the collision). The legal limit is two microgrammes.

While the prosecution and defence were also in agreement regarding the defendant’s speed at the point of impact, evidence still in dispute concerns Mr Sheldon’s position in the road at the point of collision - a factor which judge Robert Brown said could make a difference regarding the eventual sentence he passes.

Mr Young said: “The crown say it’s clear from eyewitnesses, pathology evidence and damage caused to the vehicle that Mr Sheldon was already crossing from the defendant’s right to left. He would therefore have been visible on the crossing, to a competent driver, for a longer period of time.”

But Mr Bowden said: “The defendant genuinely believes the pedestrian came from his left.”

Judge Brown adjourned the case until September 14 for a ‘Newton hearing’ to be held, including evidence from witnesses, to determine the disputed facts of the case before sentencing.

Housen, a sole trader who works as a mechanic, was granted unconditional bail.