Death by dangerous driving suspended sentence – Oliver Saxby QC defending

April 17, 2019

Last Friday at Chester Crown Court, 89-year old Albert Pentall was sentenced to a 16-month custodial sentence suspended for 2 years following the death in a road accident of a 48-year old wife and mother of two. Mr Pentall had been making the short journey home after an evening out with friends when his car collided with another vehicle as he made his way across a major junction. He was not concentrating and failed to notice the lights had turned red. The collision was a substantial one, with Mr Pentall’s vehicle travelling in the region of 40-45 mph. The victim’s car – travelling through the junction on green lights – was struck to the near side, causing her head injuries which proved fatal. Expert evidence established that Mr Pentall’s lights had changed to red (and been in full view) for approximately 9 seconds (and 150 metres) before he arrived at the junction. In carefully constructed submissions, it was argued on his behalf that the case fell into the lowest end of the lowest range of the death by dangerous sentencing guidelines; and that his guilty plea and advanced age permitted the exceptional course of suspending the inevitable sentence of imprisonment – reference being made to sentencing guidelines on the imposition of suspended sentence, together with previously decided cases. The Court agreed.

Oliver Saxby QC was instructed by Darren Rogers of Chiltern Law.

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