William Heagren (pictured outside Harrow Crown Court) has been jailed for 27 months
An 87-year-old driver who killed a woman when he stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake in a supermarket car park has been jailed for 27 months.
Veteran motorist William Heagren reversed his Ford Fusion into the woman and her pal in a Sainsbury’s car park minutes after he had bumped his car into a bollard.
Harrow Crown Court was told the shunt had left him him ‘raging’ with himself for ‘being a bloody fool.’
But he still got back into the car on Saturday May 26 last year, wrongly put it into reverse and then hit the wrong pedal.
Jeanette Newman, 64, died in hospital the next day from brain injuries she sustained after hitting her head on the tarmac.
Her friend Sarah Taylor, 53, bore the brunt of the ‘out of control’ vehicle before it came to stop when it struck a bollard.
She survived the horror crash, but suffered a stroke and was left with life-changing injuries.
Despite asking him to be bailed whilst he appealed against his 27-month custodial sentence, Judge Lana Wood refused to let Heagren out and said he must go straight to prison.
Reacting to the sentence Jeanette’s partner of 25 years, Andrew Roberts, 58, said: ‘I was not expecting him to be jailed. It doesn’t give me any pleasure, but it proves there is justice after all.’
Andrew Roberts (pictured with his late partner, Jeanette) said the jailing didn’t bring him any pleasure but that it showed there is justice
He added: ‘I am a broken man since Jeanette was so violently and suddenly taken away.
‘Of course, I feel strongly about the person who caused her death, but there are no winners in this situation. Today was about Jeanette.’
Earlier the court heard Heagren’s wife drove the car into the Sainsbury’s car park, in South Ruislip, west London, to pick up a present.
CCTV footage showed Mrs Heagren exit the driver’s seat and walk into the store without parking the car.
Pictured: Heagren’s car after the accident that killed Jeanette Newman aged 64 in Ruislip, west London
Heagren then took to the wheel to move the vehicle, but collided with a bollard at slow speed.
He was seen in an angry state looking at the damage to the front bumper before getting back into the car and slamming the door shut.
Heagren, who was 86 at the time of the fatal collision, then reversed the automatic vehicle at maximum reverse speed, narrowly missing a father who had to pull his children out of harm.
He continued reversing until his car struck Ms Newman and Ms Taylor carrying them towards a bollard which stopped the car in its tracks after travelling around 100ft.
The impact left Ms Newman unconscious, and she suffered skull, facial and rib fractures as well as a punctured lung and a blood clot on the brain.
Her life support machine was switched off the following morning after surgery to relieve a blood clot on the brain failed.
Ms Taylor suffered a head injury and was seen to be in and out of consciousness at the scene. She suffered a seven centimetre laceration to her forehead, but was discharged from hospital on 27 May, the day after the accident.
Following her discharge Ms Taylor returned to hospital where it was found she had suffered an acute ischaemic stroke linked to the accident.
Pictured: A memorial to Jeanette
She sustained prolapsed discs and a hip injury from the crash and now suffers from hearing and swallowing problems, incontinence and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Describing his initial collision, Heagren told police: ‘I was raging with myself by that time for being a bloody fool.’
He added: ‘I re-entered the vehicle, put the car in ‘drive, handbrake off, touched the throttle the slightest bit because I was going to creep into that place, and the car moved and then reversed back at speed.’
The expert collision investigator disagreed with Heagren’s account and concluded the tragedy was a result of driver error and was ‘a classic case of pedal confusion.’
He told the court that in his opinion Heagren selected the wrong gear, became confused between the pedals, and then depressed the accelerator firmly believing it to be the foot brake.
Barrister David Wood, in mitigation, described Heagren as a ‘thoroughly decent man’ who has been ‘crushed’ by what happened.
He said: ‘This was a tragic accident. The court must focus on what happened, why it happened and what the right sentence is as a result.
‘The stigma of a criminal conviction after a blameless life working hard paying taxes and looking after his family is in itself a significant punishment.’
Heagren has never apologised to his victims’ families, but the defence nonetheless claimed he had shown ‘genuine remorse’ in interviews with his probation officer.
Attempting to secure a suspended sentence, Mr Wood added: ‘He has a broken hip and will need a surgical appointment.
‘He walks with a frame and is incredibly frail and is at a stage in his life when even a minor fall could kill him.’
But the Judge dismissed the mitigation and jailed him for 27 months at Harrow Crown Court yesterday.
Because of his guilty pleas, she reduced Heagren’s sentence to 27 months for death by dangerous driving and 13 months for causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
The sentences will be served concurrently. Judge Wood said: ‘The incident took place over four to five seconds and around 15 metres.
‘The car was travelling at around 19mph at the point of impact. This was a clearly inappropriate speed in this environment and all the more dangerous because the vehicle was travelling backwards. The vehicle was completely out of control.’
She added: ‘You didn’t deliberately do it. In my judgement, the fact you attempted further manoeuvres before recovering from the first incident increases the seriousness of the offence. There is an aggravating factor of getting back into the car when you were still cross with yourself.’
Mr Wood contested the judge’s decision to jail the 87-year-old saying it was an ‘exceptional case.’
He said: ‘This man is 87 and the court has before it medical evidence strongly suggesting in the words of a GP that incarceration in a new environment could result in hospital admission for a life threatening illness. That makes this an exceptional case.’
He added: ‘This is arguably manifestly excessive.’
But the Judge said: ‘Although the conditions he faces are serious, the GP letter doesn’t amount in itself to exceptional reasons. I’m afraid I’m not so persuaded.’
She added: ‘This was a case that has caused me anxiety I have spent a considerable amount of time considering the sentence.
‘It is not a sentence that I give lightly or that I would voluntarily wish to impose. However, in my judgement it is the shortest sentence I can impose.’
Heagren entered the court on a walking frame and sat in the dock alone, listening through headphones as his sentence was passed.
- OAP driver, 91, who accidentally put his foot on the accelerator and killed university lecturer as he used a cashpoint is spared jail after victim’s widow pleaded with judge
- Driver plows through Seattle protesters leaving one woman in critical condition three days after CHOP was torn down as Black Lives Matter demonstrations continue throughout the country
- Glasgow stabbings: Several injured and man shot dead by police after city centre attack
- Man charged in Mennonite woman’s death grew up in the faith
- Is Merthyr Tydfil the UK's new Covid-19 hotspot? Official data shows the Welsh borough now has an infection rate 27% higher than Leicester
- A search for answers after deputies kill brother of Black man found hanging from tree
- Louisville demanded justice after police fatally shot Breonna Taylor. Instead, it lost another black life
- The Leicester lockdown divide: Neighbours living just inches apart tell of their confusion as city is split between those who MUST stay home and those gaining new freedoms - as police say they will spot-check cars leaving restricted zone
- Emily Ratakjowski, Kristen Stewart, Ben Affleck and Ana De Armas lead the celebrities marching in Black Lives Matter protests over the killing of George Floyd
- 100 things to do within 100 miles of Houston
- Live Updates: Mitch McConnell, After A Long Silence And Without Naming Trump, Denounces Neo-Nazis
- Another day at the beach: Lockdown Britons flock back to the seaside to bask in 80F temperatures as Devon and Cornwall police chief who sent illegal campers home warns anyone thinking of staying overnight to 'think again'
- Will London really be virus free in two weeks? No10 faces growing demands for transparency as new data suggests just 24 people a day in capital are catching coronavirus - raising hopes lockdown could be eased
- Up in the Air: Meet the Man Who Flies Around the World for Free
- Sun-seekers ignore warnings they'll be fined for breaking lockdown rules as they head to beaches with temperatures set to hit 82F – despite THREE Sage scientists saying we are lifting restrictions too soon
- 100 days of Covid-19 moments: Living through the long wait
- The 100 greatest UK No 1s: 100-1
- Celebrity deaths in 2020: Famous faces lost this year from Ian Holm to Dame Vera Lynn
- The 75 best movies on Netflix to watch now
- The 70 best Netflix series to watch right now
Zimmer frame-using driver, 87, who killed woman, 64, and horrifically injured her friend, 53, when he accidentally stepped on accelerator instead of brake in Sainsbury's car park is jailed for 27 months have 1571 words, post on www.dailymail.co.uk at December 5, 2019. This is cached page on Europe Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.