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Pensioner killed partner with his careless driving

By West Briton  |  Posted: November 01, 2012

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A PENSIONER who drove without a licence will be sentenced today for causing the death of his partner.

Derek Knight, 68, caused the death by careless driving of 76-year-old Wendy Buttery in a crash at Trispen.

Knight denied the charge but was found guilty at Truro Crown Court of causing the death of Mrs Buttery, a grandmother of six.

Knight was approaching a cyclist between Penmount Crematorium and Trispen on the A39 when he veered off the road onto a grass verge and hit a tree on June 4 last year. Mrs Buttery, a front-seat passenger, died at the scene of the crash.

Judge Graham Cottle told the court: "Anytime he got into that vehicle or any other vehicle he was committing a crime.

"I don't think he should ever drive again quite frankly."

The judge said he had not seen Knight show "any kind of remorse".

He said: "If you kill your partner of 25 years by a piece of driving that is pretty poor, don't you feel sorry for that?"

Knight, of the Old Stables, St Ewe, told jurors he did not have a valid driving licence for the UK but had owned an international licence. He said he had driven all his life, across 42 countries.

He claimed his Peugeot 307 hit the tree when a piece of cardboard fell from the dashboard, obstructing the pedals, causing the engine to rev and stopping him from braking.

But the jury was told forensic examination found nothing that would have affected the controls and the car was in serviceable condition.

Philip Lee, for the prosecution said Knight threw "explanations in the air like confetti in the hope they would land in the right place".

Mr Lee said: "It's an invention in a desperate attempt to explain what happened."

Mr Lee said Knight had failed to react appropriately when he rounded the bend as he approached the cyclist ahead.

"He carried out a completely unnecessary manoeuvre onto the verge and all the risks associated with it and just lost control," he said.

The verdict was met with gasps of relief from the public gallery in which Mrs Buttery's family and neighbours sat.

Knight, dressed in a crumpled shirt and braces, listened to the verdict through a hearing aid and shouted claims of a miscarriage of justice as he was taken down by security officers.

Outside the court members of Mrs Buttery's family said they were pleased with the verdict.

Stepdaughter Maria White, one of four of Mrs Buttery's stepdaughters, said: "As the judge said, he showed no remorse and that's what hurts. He could not even say I am sorry I killed her."

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  • cornishgirl  |  November 01 2012, 9:06PM

    It was not his car, he had not been Wendy's partner for 25 years; he does not know what the truth is. What goes around comes around and one day, hopefully, it will smack him in the face. Rest in peace with your beloved Den Wendy, your ex-neighbour of over 40 years.

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