Daughter of man killed by elderly motorist slams his decision to keep driving despite eyesight warning (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Peter Cole, 87, of London Road, Abridge, sentenced for killing Ambrose Skingle by driving dangerously
THE daughter of a man who was killed outside a row of village shops has slammed the driver who hit him as “selfish” after he was jailed today.
Ambrose Skingle, 86, was knocked down by 87-year-old Peter Cole in Coppice Row, Theydon Bois, in January.
He was rushed to hospital, but died a few weeks later.
Cole, of London Road, Abridge, was jailed for 18 months at Chelmsford Crown Court today, after admitting causing death by dangerous driving.
The court heard how he had been advised not to drive by an optician because his eyesight was so bad, but continued anyway.
Mr Skingle’s daughter, Gillian Jones, said: “Peter Cole took my father’s life because he considered his independence to be more important than the safety of others.
“Peter Cole had been told by his optometrist, as long ago as 2009, not to drive because his eyesight was too poor and in 2010 he confirmed that he no longer drove.
“Yet he fraudulently renewed his driving licence in 2010. This cynical disregard for the law of the land and the rights of others shows an utter contempt for the general public.
“Instead of my father crossing the road at that time it could have been a group of children from the school bus, mothers and toddlers on their way to collect older siblings from school – anyone in fact.
“There has been much debate in the media about elderly drivers refusing to stop driving and doctors being reluctant to take away a patient’s freedom.
“But I would ask those concerned to think of the consequences when innocent people are deprived of their independence and their lives because of one person’s selfishness.”
She said that Cole lived on a bus route and could have used public transport for free, using an OAPs bus pass, on the day he hit her father.
Sergeant Catherine Offord of Essex Police said: “Presently police do not have any powers to suspend a person’s driving licence and would like the ability to do so pending a review of the facts by a court.
“However, this would not have stopped Peter Cole driving as he had not come to the police’s notice prior to the crash which killed Ambrose Skingle.”
She added that Cole could only read a number plate at eight yards when he was tested after being arrested – 14 yards short of the legal distance of 22 yards.
“Most people will know of someone who they think should not be driving anymore, whether it is due to old age or illness,” she said.
“I would urge those people to step forward and try to encourage drivers who are unfit to stop driving and surrender their licence.”
- Essex Police has backed a campaign started by the mother of 16-year-old Cassie McCord, who was hit by an 87-year-old driver last year, to enable officers to suspend driving licences if they suspect a motorist of being unfit.
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