Bus driver imprisoned for two-and-a-half years for killing elderly couple crossing on green man in Romford
PUBLISHED: 15:16 17 October 2014 | UPDATED: 16:30 17 October 2014
A bus driver who hit and killed an elderly couple with his double decker in Romford has today been jailed for two-and-a-half years.
Robert Todd, 67, of Redden Court Road, Harold Wood, was not distracted or impaired by drunk or drugs when he mowed down the two men who were crossing at a green man on Western Road.
Civil partners Henry Keller and Colin Hicks, both 66, died instantly when they were hit by the 252 bus during a shopping trip in November last year, Snaresbrook Crown Court was told.
Todd, who had been a bus driver for 20 years, pulled out from a lay-by 12 metres from the crossing that already had been red for two-and-a-half seconds, Guy Clement said for the prosecution.
“The defendant continued accelerating towards the crossing which remained red. [CCTV] footage shows he did not slow down.
“He carried on over the stop line and drove head on into and over both Mr Keller and Mr Hicks narrowly missing a third pedestrian.
“The defendant simply did not see, or if he did, he did not register, both the victims at the pedestrian crossing.”
He did not stop the bus fully until he was 25m past the crossing.
Mitigating, John Lyons apologised to the deceased’s family on behalf of Todd and said that the defendant had carried out a public service “extremely well” and had never had a driving offence before.
“It is going to have an affect on him for the rest of his life,” he added.
Judge William Kennedy took into account that Todd pleading guilty to both counts of death by dangerous driving.
He addressed friends and family of the victims and the defendant when sentencing.
He said: “All those who drive: look in the mirror, tell me if you ever got to the end of the road and wondered what happened in the last 150 yards. Thank god in that 150 yards nothing dreadful happened.
“If anyone tells me that that’s never happened to them I will tell them I don’t believe them.
“A tragedy occurred inexplicable of proper decision. There’s nothing I can do that will reverse the terrible consequences.”
He also disqualified Todd from driving for three years and said he would have to pass an enhanced test before he could drive again. Todd, who lost his job with Stagecoach after the crash, will also pay a £120 victim surcharge.
“I’m very sorry for you all,” he added. “I hope you will find peace.”
Todd, who brought a suitcase with him in preparation for his imprisonment, was then led away to the cells.
Friends and family of Mr Keller and Mr Hicks, of Stone Close, Dagenham, were outraged by the judges “leniency”.
Read Friday’s Recorder for the reaction to the tragedy.