Drink driver who killed couple in crash while fleeing from police faces long jail sentence

Tristan Kirk

A drunken van driver who killed two pensioners as he led police on a high-speed chase while trying to evade capture faces a lengthy prison sentence.

Ben Ord, 41, smashed into the back of the Citroen C3 of Shirley and Bob Wigzell, both 71, sending their car careering into a parked vehicle in Eltham.

The pensioners, who were childhood sweethearts, were on their way home from babysitting their grandchildren when they were killed, shortly before midnight on February 23.

At the Old Bailey today, Ord admitted causing the deaths of Mr and Mrs Wigzell by dangerous driving.

Prosecutor Jonathan Polnay told the court: “The funeral for both of the deceased takes place on April 12. It is very much the wish of the family that any sentencing hearing is dealt with before then.”

Judge Richard Marks QC, the Common Serjeant of London, agreed to sentence the driver on Thursday.

Ord, of Eltham, had been pulled over by the police after being seen “driving erratically at speed”, but sped off when officers tried to speak to him. Mr and Mrs Wigzell, who met at Eltham Green School, were just a mile from their home when the crash happened. Both died at the scene in Footscray Road.

Following their deaths, the Wigzells’ son Gary said the family, including the couple’s seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, had been left “absolutely devastated”.

“They were childhood sweethearts who met when they were at school and were married for 50 years. They lived locally their whole lives,” he told the Standard.

Mr Wigzell had been a plumber and later worked for Parcelforce. His wife had worked for local funeral directors Francis Chappell & Sons.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct is investigating the crash as it happened during a pursuit.