Death crash driver’s sentence adjourned due to medical condition

A driver caused the death of a woman and seriously injured her daughter when he made a “catastrophic error of judgement” near Cadwell Park.

Lincoln Crown Court

Charlie Ledbury, 20, crossed faded double white lines to overtake a transit van which was towing a trailer despite his view of the road being completely obscured.

Today (Monday), Lincoln Crown Court heard that Ledbury, from James Street in Grimsby, was driving north on the A153 and going uphill near the junction with Bluestone Heath Road when he attempted the manoeuvre.

Nick Bleaney, prosecuting, said Ledbury collided head-on with a car which was being driven south by Deborah Sukeforth, with her mother Margaret Patrick in the front passenger seat.

The court heard a number of witnesses, including a semi-retired GP who stopped at the scene, attempted CPR on Mrs Patrick but she died after suffering serious chest injuries, multiple fractures, and a laceration to the heart.

Deborah Sukeforth also required two months in hospital after suffering six broken ribs, a fractured sternum, and two broken ankles.

Mr Bleaney told the court a JCB teleporter which was travelling north at just 10mph in front of the transit van and Ledbury had turned off the A153 shortly before the collision.

“The view this defendant had heading north, with a transit van towing a trailer, was obscured,” Mr Bleaney said.

“Deborah Sukeforth decided to try to steer round the oncoming car on to the verge, it seems at the last moment so did the defendant, and in essence there was a head-on collision. It was a catastrophic error of judgement.”

Ledbury remained at the scene to offer help and admitted his responsibility during police interview.

Mr Bleaney told the court Mrs Patrick’s son and daughter-in-law had written to the sentencing judge expressing their view that it would be a waste of money to jail Ledbury because of his remorse and character.

They also asked for the sentencing judge to meet Mr Ledbury.

The court hear Deborah Sukeforth was unable to attend the sentencing hearing due to her ongoing mobility problems.

Ledbury pleaded guilty to causing the death of Margaret Patrick by dangerous driving shortly after 3pm on April 10, 2019.

He also admitted causing serious injury to Deborah Sukeforth by dangerous driving.

Defence barrister Nick Worsley said Ledbury approached the other vehicle after the collision with the intention of offering assistance and suffered some injuries himself.

Following the collision it was discovered that Ledbury had a pre-existing brain cyst which did not contribute to the crash but remained potentially life threatening.

Mr Worsley asked for sentence to be adjourned to see if the prison service could accommodate Mr Ledbury’s medical condition during the present coronavirus outbreak.

“He could potentially require emergency surgery within two hours,” Mr Worsley added.

Judge Simon Hirst said it was plain that members of Margaret Patrick’s family had adopted an extremely charitable view.

But the judge declined the family’s invitation to meet Mr Ledbury insisting he was still bound by sentencing guidelines and to pass the “proper sentence.”

Judge Hirst agreed to adjourn sentence for three months to see if Ledbury’s condition could be accommodated within a prison.

“The last thing anyone would want is Mr Ledbury being put in prison if he could not be treated,” the judge said.

Ledbury was granted bail until June 15.