85 Year Old Driver Jailed

22 December 2014, 19:09 | Updated: 22 December 2014, 19:12

An 85-year-old driver who killed a mother in front of her husband and toddler after confusing the brake with the accelerator has been jailed for 18 months.

Geoffrey Lederman was driving home from a bridge game when he mounted the pavement on the wrong side of the road and crashed in to nine pedestrians near West Hampstead train station in north-west London on the evening of 10 November 2012.

Ben Brooks-Dutton described how he managed to steer the pushchair carrying his two-year-old son away from the oncoming car as it scrapped past.

But his 33-year-old wife Desreen Brooks was knocked down in the 54mph crash and died instantly, suffering "horrific injuries", the police force said.

The family from East Dulwich were returning to the train station after visiting friends.

Amy Werner, a 23-year-old American student, suffered brain damage and lost her sight in one eye following the crash and continues to recover in America.

Detective Sergeant Cheryl Frost, of the Met's serious collision investigation unit, said the family's pain was prolonged by Lederman's refusal to take responsibility for the death.

In a statement he said: "Lederman confused the pedals of the car and instead of braking as he approached a bend too fast he accelerated into a group of pedestrians causing horrific injuries to Desreen Brooks who died at the scene.

"I would like to pay tribute to Desreen's family as well as Amy Werner and her family for the courage they have shown during this time, prolonged by Lederman's refusal to plead guilty and take responsibility for his actions."

He added:"This case highlights how a momentary mistake resulted in a tragic death of a mother and caused life changing injuries to another young woman.

"It is important for motorists to regularly monitor their driver behaviour and that of their elderly relatives to ensure that the roads are safe for all road users.

Lederman, who fractured his sternum in the crash, had claimed he was overtaking a slow-moving car when he realised he was travelling too fast and steered in to a wall.

But he was found guilty at Blackfriars Crown Court of causing death by dangerous driving after investigators proved he had been travelling at 54mph and no pressure had been applied to the brake, the Metropolitan Police said.

The pensioner, of Hamilton Terrace in St John's Wood, north-west London, was sentenced to 18 months jail and disqualified from driving for life.