Family of partners killed by bus in Romford ‘disappointed’ with ‘lenient’ sentence

PUBLISHED: 12:00 24 October 2014

Todd outside Barkingside Magistrates' Court

Todd outside Barkingside Magistrates' Court


A judge asked the families of two men killed after being hit by a bus in Romford town centre to put themselves in the place of the driver and “thank God” it has never happened to them.

Flowers at the scene of the crash in Western road Flowers at the scene of the crash in Western road

Judge William Kennedy sentenced Robert Todd, of Redden Court Road, Harold Wood, to two-and-a-half years’ jail on Friday last week after insisting he must receive “punishment” for hitting and killing civil partners Henry Keller and Colin Hicks.

But the victims’ families were left “disappointed” with the “lenient” sentence as death by dangerous driving can carry up to 14 years imprisonment per count in the most serious cases.

The judge told the families of Mr Keller and Mr Hicks, both 66: “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.”

Todd, 67, whose family sat opposite the relatives of the dead men, admitted two counts of causing death by dangerous driving.

David White and James Bowdidge, both of Hamlet Court Road, Southend-on-Sea, were friends with the deceased couple for more than 30 years. They spoke to the Recorder on behalf of the victims’ family.

Mr White, 73, said: “All of the family are massively disappointed about the sentence – it’s so lenient.The driver will be out in society in 15 months and they have got to see that person free. The victims’ friends and family have a life sentence.

“And it’s just a three-year ban. Another thing that’s gut-wrenching is he’s not been fined for the offences and it wasn’t a question of whether he could [pay] it.”

Mr Bowdidge, 57, added: “They were so happy together, they had a very good life and had recently retired. They were looking forward to doing everything together.

“I don’t think, other than the people who knew them, anybody realises how tragic the situation is. They were going to spend the rest of their lives doing what they wanted to do and it was snatched away from them.”

Judge Kennedy also banned Todd from driving for years and handed him a £120 victim surcharge that must be imposed by law.

Mr White said: “It’s a petty £120 on two people’s lives. It’s crazy.

“That’s just two speeding fines basically.”

Read more:

Bus driver imprisoned for killing elderly Dagenham couple crossing on green man

Former bus driver admits killing elderly couple through dangerous driving in Romford

Latest Romford News Stories

Yesterday, 17:15

An American singing sensation who has six gold records and a platinum album to his name is kicking off his UK tour in Hornchurch next year.

Yesterday, 15:00

First time buyers will benefit from not having to pay stamp duty on homes costing £300,000 or less, the chancellor has announced.

Yesterday, 14:31

Youngsters at one Havering Primary School have found a novel way to improve their literacy – reading to a retired greyhound.

Yesterday, 12:57

Rumours that the only swimming pool in the south of Havering is under threat of closure have been strongly refuted by the facility’s owners.

Yesterday, 12:11

The frustration of trying to find a seat on a packed train could be a thing of the past thanks to a new platform board.

Yesterday, 12:00

An amateur painter with a penchant for “bleak” scenes has seen off competition from professional artists to reach the semi-final of a television contest.

Yesterday, 10:00

A joint operation between Essex and Metropolitan Police saw 16 people arrested for numerous driving offences on the A13 on Friday.

Yesterday, 07:00

A petition has been launched to lower the speed limit at an estate after growing concerns that drivers are excessively speeding.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists

News from your area


Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now