Death crash driver tells jury he did not realise he was speeding

Andrew Wilsea.
Andrew Wilsea.

A dad on trial over the death of a cyclist told a court he did not realise that he had been driving over the speed limit at the time of the fatal incident near Gildersome.

Robert Hall, 31, described to a jury how he lost control of his car during a shopping trip with his daughter to buy toiletries when he caused the death of Andrew Wilsea.

Leeds Crown Court has heard Mr Wilsea was killed after being knocked down after Hall drove his Rover into a kerb at around 70mph and careered across Gelderd Road.

The car landed in a hedge after striking Mr Wilsea, who was cyclist in the opposite lane, and the bike was “embedded” into the side of the car.

Hall, of Throstle Place, Middleton, has pleaded guilty to causing death by careless drive but pleads not guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.

Hall told the court he believed he was driving at 50 mph - the legal limit for that stretch of road - at the time he lost control of the car as his daughter was on the back seat.

Hall’s barrister, Andrew Semple, asked: “What was the first sign of loss of control? What do you remember?”

Hall replied: “I felt the back end of the car flip out.” The defendant then explained how he tried to correct the vehicle as it skidded.

He continued: “The next thing I can remember was seeing flashes of green when I was on the grass verge.”

Hall told the court he had been upset when he was told of Mr Wilsea’s death and had told the truth to the best of his knowledge when asked by the police what happened.

Mr Semple asked his client: “Do you now accept, as a result of expert evidence, that you were going in excess of the speed limit?”

Hall replied: “Yes”

During cross examination, prosecutor Michael Smith said: “The speed limit on the motorway is 70mph. Do you agree there is a significant difference between 50mph and 70mph when you are driving your car?” Hall replied: “Not in my perception, no.”

Mr Smith asked Hall: “Do you agree that as a driver you should have realised it?” He replied: “I do now, yes.”

The prosecutor then asked: “When interviewed, did you know in your heart that you had been going too fast?” Hall replied: “No.”

The collision took place on August 18 last year at around 6.20pm.

The court has seen CCTV footage of Hall’s vehicle going out of control into Mr Wilsea’s path.

Camera footage from a bus showed Hall’s car overtaking another vehicle shortly before the collision.

The prosecution say analysis of the footage showed that Hall was driving in excess of 70mph for about a minute as he travelled towards the scene of the collision.