‘The sound of the impact will haunt me forever’ - widow

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A partially-sighted multiple sclerosis (MS) sufferer was fatally injured when a car hit his mobility scooter as he crossed the road with his wife by his side.

Ian Clarke (59) was thrown from the scooter, which was left in bits, following the crash in London Road, Long Sutton, on Christmas Eve morning.

Magistrates heard Mr Clarke never spoke again and died in hospital on January 11.

David Bailey (71), of Roman Bank, Long Sutton, pleaded guilty to causing Mr Clarke’s death by driving his Kia Sorrento without due care and attention. The retired landworker admitted he hadn’t seen Mr Clark in the road. Boston magistrates handed Bailey an immediate driving ban at Wednesday’s hearing and adjourned sentence to September 21 for a probation report.

The court heard the crash site was three or four minutes from the Clarkes’ home and Mrs Clarke had told police: “The sound of the impact will haunt me forever.”

Members of Mr Clarke’s family sat immediately behind Bailey in court.

Bailey’s solicitor, Mike Alexander, said: “He’s got to live the rest of his life knowing what’s happened and knowing that he caused it. He hopes in due course they (the family) will forgive him, but he’s not expecting that. He’s well aware that he’s caused an extreme amount of pain in the family.”

The court heard the Clarkes used parked cars as a “shelter” to begin their road crossing towards the cemetery at about 10.30am.

Nathaniel Hartley, prosecuting, said they moved off when Mrs Clarke saw the road was clear.

He said: “Mr Clarke would have been to her right in his wheelchair. He must have been slightly behind her because Mrs Clarke wasn’t struck by the vehicle that came from her left (travelling from the direction of the town centre) – Mr Clark was.”

Mr Hartley said Mrs Clarke didn’t hear “screeching brakes or horns”, only the sound of “a very sudden impact”.

He said Mrs Clarke ran over to the driver, shouting words to the effect of “what have you done?” and Mr Bailey shouted words to the effect of “it’s not my fault, I didn’t see him”.

Mr Hartley told the court that one police officer attending the scene could barely see because the sun was so low – so he lowered his visor and cut his speed.

“He slowed down to 5mph just to negotiate that patch of sun,” said Mr Hartley.

But, in interview, Bailey denied being blinded by the sun.

Mr Alexander said other police at the scene hadn’t slowed, although they used their visors, and both visors were down in Bailey’s car.

The pensioner wasn’t speeding, hadn’t been drinking and passed an eyesight test at the scene.