Corner-cutting courier killed pensioner

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A courier driver who caused the death of a Lincolnshire pensioner when he cut a corner during his rounds was spared prison by a judge.

Father-of-four Manjit Sumal was making a delivery to the village of Wellingore when he collided head-on with a car driven by 84-year-old Ernest Norton.

Mr Norton, who lived in Wellingore, was airlifted to hospital after being cut from the wreckage but later died after suffering mulitple injuries. Mr Norton’s friend and passenger, Susan Baker, 59, also suffered a dislocated hip and four broken ribs in the crash on 11 October last year.

Gareth Wheetman, prosecuting, said “gouge marks” confirmed the collision occured entirely in Mr Norton’s lane after Sumal’s hire van entered a double bend straddling the single white lines in the centre of the road.

Mr Wheetman said in his first account Sumal tried to blame the other driver for the crash, claiming Mr Norton’s car crossed into his side of the road. Sumal maintained the account during his first interview but later admitted he had gone into Mr Norton’s lane.

The court heard Sumal was banned from driving for six months earlier this year after he tried to give his brother’s name when he was stopped by the police. Sumal later gave his proper name after admitting he had failed to send his driving licence off for a previous speeding offence.

Mark Watson, mitigating, said Sumal had expressed remorse for his driving.

Sumal, of Melton Road, Littleover, admitted causing Mr Norton’s death by careless driving on 11 October last year.

He was sentenced to nine months imprisonment suspended for 18 months, placed under the supervision of a probation officer for 18 months and ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work in the community. He was also banned from driving for two years and until he passes an extended retest.

Passing sentence Judge John Milmo QC said Mr Norton was a “fine father and grandfather,” but added: “No sentence I pass can bring Mr Norton back.”

Judge Milmo told Sumal: “You cut the corner not knowing Mr Norton was approaching.”

In a statement Mr Norton’s son, David Norton, said his family “relived” the consequences of the crash every day.

Mr Norton said: “The whole family have been devaststed by this event.

“It was expected my father, who was in good health, would live another ten years.”