SPEEDING DRIVER CAUSED DEATH OF PENSIONER
79-YEAR-OLD FATALLY INJURED WHEN HIT CROSSING THE ROAD
A MOTORIST who was speeding before he hit a 79-year-old man crossing the road has admitted causing death by careless driving.
Mahesh Chavda, 42, was travelling at about 40mph in the 30mph Hinckley Road, in Leicester, and was unable to avoid Colin ‘Stewart’ Watts, in December 2019.
Mr Watts, pictured, a Leicester Mercury office boy in the 1950s, suffered a fatal head injury and died five days later.
Neil Bannister, prosecuting, said if Chavda, of Woodleigh Close, Scraptoft, “had been driving at 30mph it could have allowed Mr Watts to get safely across the road”.
Chavda was given a 24-week jail sentence, suspended for two years.
A CARELESS motorist caused the death of a pensioner crossing a road because he was driving too fast, a court heard.
Mahesh Chavda, 42, was travelling at about 40mph in the 30mph Hinckley Road, in Leicester, and was unable to avoid Colin ‘Stewart’ Watts who had just collected a newspaper, as was his morning routine.
Mr Watts, pictured, a former Leicester Mercury office boy at the paper’s Albion Street premises in the 1950s, was also a talented pianist who used to perform in pubs and old folks’ homes.
Leicester Crown Court was told 79-year-old Mr Watts, who lived alone in Western Park, suffered a fatal head injury in the collision, at 6am on December 10, 2019. He never regained consciousness and died in Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre five days later.
Chavda, of Woodleigh Close, Scraptoft, Leicester, admitted causing death by carelessly driving a Mercedes-Benz GLA.
Neil Bannister, prosecuting, said Mr Watts, known as Stewart by his family, was crossing Hinckley Road after getting his paper from the Euro Garage shop.
The defendant, a Caterpillar employee, was driving out of the city, on a familiar route to work.
He had earlier flashed his lights at a slow-moving taxi driver and, on seeing Mr Watts crossing the road, sounded his horn.
He began to brake – described as “gentle to moderate” rather than “emergency” braking.
The prosecutor said: “Had the defendant been driving at 30mph it could have allowed Mr Watts to get safely across the road.
“He was driving too fast and, had he been within the speed limit, the collision could have been avoided.”
Chavda called the emergency services, as a passer-by tended to Mr Watts, and remained at the scene.
In a family impact statement, Martin Watts, of Wigston, paid tribute to his brother describing him as artistic, a good pianist, kind, with a good sense of humour and who enjoyed a quiet life.
He said: “He was fond of giving anything he could to charities and often had letters printed in the local paper (the Mercury) promoting his favourite good causes.
“He was physically fit, taking long walks daily and the road accident came as a very tragic shock.
“I have some sympathy for the driver, as being a full-time driver myself I know we all make mistakes and I’m sure he must have suffered.”
Recorder William Harbage said Martin’s statement was “compassionate and generous in the circumstances.”
Tim Pole, mitigating, said: “It’s difficult to truly articulate the impact of such an event on the family and the defendant, who set out for work in the usual way and, because of a mistake, he causes the death of another.
“Carrying the guilt for the rest of his days is a significant punishment in itself.
“Mr Watts’ brother’s statement was charitable and generous.
“Mr Chavda has been in full time employment for 10 years and has a good driving record with not a single endorsement prior to this event. “He’s been deeply affected and sought counselling. It was a tragic error. He now cycles to work.” Sentencing, Recorder William Harbage QC said: “The fact is you were going too fast and your driving was careless in that regard.
“I’m quite satisfied you’re genuinely remorseful. This was a tragic error on your part, tragic for Mr Watts and his family and friends and tragic for you because you’ll have to bear the consequences for that and I’ve no doubt you’ll continue to carry the guilt for the rest of your life.”
Chavda was given a 24-week jail sentence, suspended for two years, with 300 hours of unpaid work. He was banned from driving for 12 months.
The recorder added: “The sentence is in no way a measure of the worth of Mr Watts’ life. No sentence the court passes can bring him back.”
After the hearing, Martin,78, said: “It’s such a tragedy and I do miss my brother.”
They spent part of their childhood at the family’s newsagent’s shop in Carlton Street, off Welford Road, along with another brother and sister – the late Jane Watts, a stage performer in West End shows.
Martin said: “Stewart was an office boy at the Leicester Mercury’s old Albion Street offices, after leaving school, and when he moved on, I took over his job for a short time.”
The court was told that the defendant had not only written a letter of regret to the judge, but also a personal letter to the Watts family.
I have some sympathy for the driver, as being a driver myself I know we all make mistakes Martin Watts, the victim’s brother