Driver knocked over elderly couple while on his way to Specsavers

A driver on his way to Specsavers struck two elderly pedestrians with his car while reversing through a pedestrianised shopping area. Kevin Florance was driving his partner's father to the opticians when he collided with the man and woman, causing them to fall to the ground, Swansea Crown Court heard.

The judge told the 61-year-old that the couple should have been visible to him "for some time" if he had been "looking properly" as he manoeuvred his BMW. The court heard from Florance's advocate that the defendant was "embarrassed and somewhat distressed" by his appearance in court.

Prosecutor Georgia Donohue detailed how at approximately 11.30am on November 27 last year, police were called to an incident where a vehicle had hit two elderly people on New Street in Neath town centre. Upon arrival, they discovered an off-duty nurse attending to the injured parties.

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Florance admitted to officers that he had been reversing onto Orchard Street to drop off his partner's father at Specsavers and mentioned that his partner was in the car serving as his "look out". Donohue noted that the elderly couple involved had not submitted any medical evidence but were observed to have sustained "minor" injuries at the scene.

Florance, of Villiers Street in Briton Ferry, Neath, previously admitted dangerous driving. He has 16 previous convictions for 36 offences including motoring matters but none since 2002, reports Wales Online.

Giles Hayes, representing Florance, expressed his client's embarrassment and distress regarding his current situation. He acknowledged that it was "rather bizarre" no one in Florance's car spotted the elderly couple as the car reversed.

He added that Florance took responsibility for his actions when he spoke to officers at the site. The lawyer mentioned the streets were only open to vehicles during certain hours of the day, pointing out his client's "foolish decision" to drive at an inappropriate time.

He said Florance's health was not good and that prior to being charged via postal requisition had kept in touch with the family of the elderly couple in order to check on their welfare. Recorder David Elias KC said he had seen CCTV footage from Neath town centre and noted that the defendant was reversing at a "very, very slow speed" when he collided with the couple behind his car.

He said: "Pedestrians were there and should have been in your view for some time had you been looking properly. It is very fortunate they did not receive more serious injury."

He acknowledged that Florance had acted "entirely appropriately" post-incident by ensuring the couple's well-being at the scene and maintaining contact with their family member in the subsequent months. Recorder Elias pointed out that the sentencing guidelines suggest a starting point of 36 weeks in custody, with options ranging from a high-level community order to 18 months in prison.

Considering the incident's specifics and weighing the mitigating and aggravating factors, he deemed a sentence towards the lower end of the spectrum appropriate. Consequently, Florance received a 12-month community order, a two-year driving ban, and must pass an extended test before regaining his licence.

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