6th Dec, 2016

Delivery driver admits being responsible for causing death of Southam pensioner

Stratford Editorial 18th Apr, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

A DELIVERY driver has finally admitted being responsible for his refrigerated van rolling across a Southam pub car park and onto the pavement, killing a passing pensioner.

Matheeb Iqbal had either not put the handbrake on or had failed to put it on properly while he was making a delivery at the Bowling Green Inn in Coventry Street.

Iqbal of Lime Grove, Lozells, Birmingham, originally pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court to causing the death of mother-of-two Susan Collins by careless driving.

But just days before the 22-year-old was due to stand trial, his barrister Andrew Baker asked for the charge to be put again – and Iqbal changed his plea to guilty.

The charge follows an incident on December 30, 2014, after Iqbal parked the refrigerated Mercedes Sprinter van on the pub car park as he made a delivery.

While he was away from the vehicle it rolled backwards across the car park, over a kerb and onto the pavement where it struck Mrs Collins, who lived in Southam, as she was walking past.

The 65-year-old mother-of-two, was severely injured, and died in hospital on January 8 last year.

At an earlier hearing prosecutor Simon Ward explained: “The issue is whether the handbrake was on or whether there was a mechanical defect.”

The court heard there was a DVD from CCTV cameras which show what happened on the pub car park.

“He leaves the vehicle and slams the heavy fridge door at the side.

“After a period of 10 to 20 seconds it begins to roll away slowly, and only gains speed to six miles an hour at the moment of the tragic accident.”

After Iqbal had changed his plea, Mr Baker said: “The plea is entered on the basis that he did not adequately pull the handbrake up, and it is therefore only partially engaged.”

Asking for the case to be adjourned, he said a report relating to the handbrake had been prepared for the defence, but had not yet been seen by the CPS for the prosecution to consider its conclusions.

Mr Baker, who said Iqbal was of previous good character, also asked for a pre-sentence report to be prepared on him and for the issue of disqualification to be left to the sentencing judge.

But adjourning the case and granting him bail, Judge Andrew Lockhart QC made Iqbal, who will face a minimum ban of 12 months, subject to an interim disqualification.

At the previous hearing, in a reference to the death of Mrs Collins’s husband Paul three years earlier, the judge on that occasion observed it was the second such tragedy the family had suffered.

In December 2011 the experienced motorcyclist had left work on the crime desk at Stratford police station and was riding his home along the A422 at Ettington when a Range Rover turned across the road in front of him.

There was nothing Mr Collins, who was riding a 650cc Suzuki, could do to avoid a collision, and he was killed.