Matthew Topham: Lottery winner found not guilty of killing pensioner by dangerous driving

·2-min read

A lottery winner has been found not guilty of killing a pensioner by dangerous driving in a Christmas Day crash in 2019.

Matthew Topham, reported to be Britain's youngest EuroMillions jackpot winner after scooping £45m in 2012, caused the death of 75-year-old Mary Jane Regler.

The 31-year-old had admitted causing death by careless driving before the start of the three-day trial, but jurors agreed his actions could not be deemed as dangerous after deliberating for just over an hour.

Mr Topham took his eyes off the road for "a split second" as he retrieved a teddy bear for his two-year-old son, which led the defendant to veer on to the wrong side of the road, Lincoln Crown Court had heard.

Jurors accepted his submissions that he did it "instinctively" after his youngest son let out a "piercing" screaming "like a burglar alarm".

The court was told Topham crashed his BMW into a Ford Fiesta driven by Rodney Regler in North Cockerington, Lincolnshire, at around 5.50pm on 25 December 2019.

As a result of the crash, Mrs Regler died from severe chest injuries and Mr Regler, 78, suffered serious injuries.

The pair had been heading home after having Christmas dinner at their son's house, the trial heard.

Topham, of Swinderby, Lincolnshire, was found not guilty of causing death by dangerous driving and causing serious injuries to Mr Regler by dangerous driving.

Recalling the incident, Topham had told the jury he was not "consciously making a decision" due to his son's screaming.

He said: "If I was consciously making a decision, I hope I would come to a better conclusion than I did that day.

"If I could take it back I would, but I can't."

Prosecution barrister Michael Cranmer-Brown had attempted to argue Topham's son being upset was "irrelevant". But the jury dismissed this argument.

Judge Catarina Sjolin Knight told Topham he had "the night to spend with your family" before adjourning sentencing until Thursday.