Judge apologises to woman, 83, hauled into court for causing crash death of biker who was 'doing 100mph’

Andy Wells
·Freelance Writer
·3-min read
Mavis Witts was cleared of any wrongdoing after she was accused of being responsible for the death of Stephen Ferguson. (SWNS)
Mavis Witts was cleared of any wrongdoing after she was accused of being responsible for the death of Stephen Ferguson. (SWNS)

An 83-year-old woman charged with killing a biker who was said to be doing over 100 mph at the time of a fatal crash has received an apology from a judge.

Mavis Witts was cleared of any wrongdoing after she was accused of being responsible for the death of Stephen Ferguson, 51, on 21 April last year.

The elderly motorist was charged with causing death by careless driving after she struck Mr Ferguson with her Renault Kangoo in Rugby, Warwickshire.

However, a court heard the the motorcyclist was travelling at over 100 mph along a 50 mph road at the time of the smash and Witts could do nothing to avoid the collision.

And after having legal proceedings lingering over her for the past 18 months, the pensioner was finally exonerated of any blame this week.

Judge Sylvia de Bertodano apologised for the "distress" caused by her case after the prosecution offered no further evidence at Warwick Crown Court.

The prosecution offered no further evidence at Warwick Crown Court. (Flickr)
The prosecution offered no further evidence at Warwick Crown Court. (Flickr)

She told the defendant there was no suggestion she had done anything wrong and "it could have happened to anyone”.

The judge said: “You may not get an apology from anyone else, so you are going to get one from me.

“It would be very distressing to be involved in such a collision, and to then get suggestions it was your fault, when it is perfectly clear that it is not, must be even more distressing.

“There is no suggestion at all that you did anything wrong. It could have happened to anyone.”

The court heard the tragic collision took place between Ferguson's powerful BMW S1000 RR motorbike and Witts's vehicle at a crossroads on the A45.

She had pulled out of a side road into the path of the bike and Ferguson, from Long Lawford, was rushed to hospital where he later died.

Witts, of Flecknoe, first appeared before magistrates charged with killing Ferguson on 12 February before her cases were put back due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more: Aston Martin hit with four fines and a note from angry residents

When her case was finally heard this week her defence barrister Michael Rawlinson said dash-cam footage he had obtained proved his client's innocence.

The footage had enabled an expert to establish the speed the bike was doing – which was said to be more than double the 50 mph speed limit.

Witts entered a not guilty plea to the charge, which was accepted by prosecutor Hugh O’Brien-Quinn, who said he would offer no evidence against her.

O’Brien-Quinn said: “There is a joint report from the defence expert and the police expert which has concluded that the deceased was driving at in excess of 100 mph on his motorbike.

“When she looked, he would have been so far away that she concluded it would be safe [to pull out], and had he been doing the speed limit, she would have been able to do so.”

Judge de Bertodano replied: “This is no kind of technicality, you are saying that she is entirely innocent of this charge.”

Watch the latest videos from Yahoo News UK