DPD delivery driver reversed down one-way Rhyl street and killed pedestrian

Patrick Joseph McDonald, known affectionately as Vinny, was killed by a dangerous driver in Rhyl
Patrick Joseph McDonald, known affectionately as Vinny, was killed by a dangerous driver in Rhyl -Credit:North Wales Live

An elderly pedestrian died after a delivery driver reversed down a one-way street into him. Lee Jones, who worked for the DPD firm, had gone too far down the street behind the White Rose Shopping Centre in Rhyl and wanted to go back the way he had come to save time on his rounds.

But Jones, 35, knocked down Patrick McDonald. By chance Mr McDonald's partner and daughter came upon the scene as paramedics tried to save the OAP but he died in hospital the following day.

Today a judge at Mold Crown Court told former soldier and US defence department worker Jones that the tragedy could have been avoided. He jailed him for three and a half years for causing death by dangerous driving.

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Prosecutor James Coutts said Mr McDonald, 82, known as "Vinnie", had been crossing Church Street at about 9.30am on October 21, 2022. It was a one-way street and he seemed to be going towards the shopping centre.

He let one vehicle pass him but wouldn't have expected anything to come from his left. However Jones' white DPD parcel van reversed from his left, the wrong way down the street, knocking him over. He caused severe head and chest injuries.

Mr Coutts said Jones, who had never worked on that route, had been trying to deliver a parcel to the New Look store. By mistake he drove too far along Church Street and into the Poundland loading bay.

He realised his error and reversed. Witness Mary Heard said she heard "the loud sound of a vehicle revving". It was getting louder as the vehicle accelerated.

A file picture of the White Rose Shopping Centre near where the road accident happened
A file picture of the White Rose Shopping Centre near where the road accident happened -Credit:Reach plc

Ms Heard said Mr McDonald started to cross the road but on seeing the van increased his pace but "stumbled slightly" and was knocked down, the court heard. You can sign up for all the latest court stories here

"The rear offside wheel partially travelled over his body," said Mr Coutts. Police worked out Jones had reversed for about ten metres for five to six seconds.

Jones stopped and gave first aid while ringing 999. He waited for police and paramedics to arrive.

He was arrested. He said he believed he had checked his mirrors and was deeply sorry. Mr McDonald was taken to hospital but died in the early hours of the following morning.

The court heard he had moved to North Wales in the 1970s. He had been a hairdresser but also worked over the years as a window cleaner and in bars, pubs and hotels.

Known as "a friend to everyone", he was widowed but had a daughter Dawn and a partner Kath. Dawn and Kath saw paramedics working on the casualty that day.

It was only when Dawn heard the defendant say "He was in my blind spot" that she realised it had been a road accident, the court heard.

In a victim statement Dawn said his untimely death had been devastating. He had been "my ever faithful friend and confidant". The loss has left a massive hole in the family's lives and only Jones was responsible.

Simon Rogers, defending, said Jones had "stopped immediately." He put the pedestrian in the recovery position, went to a nearby house to summon help and rang the emergency services.

He said his client, of Marine Road, Pensarn, had pleaded guilty. He also said he had served in the Army from the ages of 16 to 28, with tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. Then he worked for the US Department of Defence between 2018 and 2020.

He had been a delivery driver for 12 months at the time of the Rhyl incident. He has PTSD and anxiety from his military career and this incident has worsened the anxiety.

He suffers "mental anguish" and is "visibly tearful" when discussing it. He hasn't driven since the death, said Mr Rogers.

But the judge His Honour Rhys Rowlands condemned the driving as "irresponsible".

He said: "Instead of going round the one-way system (again) you chose to reverse. It was just a foolish and irresponsible thing to do but plainly dangerous and fraught with risk."

He added that Mr McDonald did not contribute to this accident and that it was caused by the defendant alone.

"It was the most appalling and unnecessary tragedy. No doubt, you must have wished many, many times you could have turned the clock back.

"But this was an accident that could have so easily been avoided if you had been paying proper attention but you took a risk to save a few minutes."

He jailed Jones for 42 months for causing death by dangerous driving. He also disqualified him from driving for 81 months. He must pass an extended retest before he can drive again.

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