Momentary lapse in concentration caused death of grandfather, court hears

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A motorist who caused the death of a pensioner when he briefly drifted in to the wrong carriageway was sentenced to 250 hours of unpaid work by a judge.

George Padley, 25, was also banned from driving for a year after he admitted a momentary loss of concentration which caused the death of grandfather Derek Hall, 70.

Padley, from Anwick, was driving his Audi TT car home from his job at Belvoir Castle when he collided with Mr Hall’s vehicle on the A153 at Wilsford.

Mr Hall, who had lived in Canada for 10 years and was travelling to Bedfordshire after visiting a friend in Woodhall Spa, died when his car left the road and hit a stone wall.

Lincoln Crown Court heard how Padley had driven the stretch of road thousands of times before and was not speeding when the collision happened on an “unremarkable bend”.

Jeremy Janes, prosecuting, said there were no other aggravating features to Padley’s driving and other motorists described him proceeding safely and refusing to overtake another car when he had the chance.

Mr Janes told the court: “This was a momentary lapse with no aggravating features whatsoever.”

An off-duty police officer who saw part of the collision said he thought Padley went a distance of between 12 and 18 inches in to the opposite carriageway, the court heard.

Mr Janes added: “It was carelessness not any deliberateness on his part.”

Mr Hall’s airbag deployed but had deflated by the time his car collided with a wall.

“Nothing I can say can describe the loss the whole family feels,” Mr Janes told the court. “He was a loving husband, father and grandfather. A decent man in every sense of the word.”

Padley, of Church Lane, Anwick, pleaded guilty to causing Mr Hall’s death by careless driving following the collision on August 23, 2011.

John Lloyd-Jones, mitigating, said Padley hit the side of his head and had no recollection of the incident. Mr Lloyd-Jones told the court: “His stance has always been if I am guilty I will plead guilty.”

The court was told Padley had driven the road on thousands of occasions.

Mr Lloyd-Jones added: “Whether it was complacency on his part we don’t know.”

The court heard Padley handed his notice in to his employers to allow them the chance to recruit somebody with a driving licence.

Passing sentence Judge Sean Morris told Padley: “You are a young man with prospects who on that day was returning from work. You are a decent, hard working, law abiding young man.

“Whatever it was that caused you to lose full attention that day was a lapse, that is it, with the most appalling consequences.”