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Landlord guilty of careless driving

By UttoxeterPostandTimes.3522974.UttoxeterPostandTimes  |  Posted: January 24, 2014

Coach and Horses, Abbotts Bromley - Refurb Pics with Landlords Gill and Darren Harris

Coach and Horses, Abbotts Bromley - Refurb Pics with Landlords Gill and Darren Harris

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A VILLAGE landlord hit a pensioner on a motorbike on a notorious junction while driving without due care and attention, a court has heard.

Darren Harris (pictured), landlord of The Coach and Horses, in High Street, Abbots Bromley, denied driving his Voltswagen Golf on the mitre crossroads at A515 junction without due care and attention on September 26.

However, magistrates sitting at Burton Magistrates’ Court found him guilty following a trial.

Andrew Bodger, prosecuting, said the 44-year-old was heading from Burton to Abbots Bromley when he collided with John Ball who was riding a Honda Blackbird motorcycle at the Newborough junction with the B5234.

As a result of the crash, the retired 68-year-old suffered bruising to his shoulders, knees, legs and arms and a broken rib.

Mr Ball said: “I saw the car coming towards the crossroads and I eased off as it is well known to locals as an accident blackspot.

“The car seemed to have slowed down but it just came across. I tried breaking but it happened so quick.”

However, he did say how Mr Harris’ wife Gillian looked after him while they waited for the ambulance to arrive.

The motorcycle enthusiast disputed claims he was speeding.

Michael Mullin, defending, said if Mr Ball was at the brow of the hill, Harris would not have been able to see him, especially if he was speeding on the open road.

Harris said: “I was driving with my wife in the passenger seat and when we came to the junction I could not really see a lot until we got close to it.

“I stopped at the line and looked both ways and then decided to go. I did not see Mr Ball at all. It all happened very quick. There was this loud bang and I panicked.

“Mr Ball went over the top of the bike and my first thought he was dead. I phoned an ambulance while my wife stayed with him.”

Harris said he originally thought it was his fault but it was not until afterwards he realised Mr Ball must have been at the brow of the hill, meaning he would not have seen him when he pulled out.

Mrs Harris also told the court her husband was a careful driving and she also looked both ways before he pulled out but did not see Mr Ball.

She said: “I cannot image as a driver, as cautious as I am, I would not have seen him.”

After hearing all of the evidence magistrates found Harris guilty of driving without due care and attention as they said his evidence focused more ‘on distance rather than proximity’.

Harris was fined £75 with £20 victim surcharge and £250 court costs. He also had three penalty points added to his licence.

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