White van man jailed for killing elderly couple after drink and drugs birthday binge

Joe Gamp
Contributor, Yahoo News UK
Robert and Shirley Wigzell, both 71, died in the crash (PA)

A white van driver has been jailed for nine years for killing an elderly couple after a drink and drugs birthday binge.

Ben Ord, who had turned 41, was driving at around 70mph in a 30mph area while being pursued by police.

He veered onto the wrong side of the road and crashed into a Citroen C5 that contained Robert Wigzell and his wife Shirley, both 71.

The couple – who had been returning home from babysitting their great grandchildren – were trapped in the wreckage and died at the scene.

Ord admitted he had more than 10 alcoholic drinks and a gram of cocaine (PA)

The Old Bailey heard how after the incident, Ord admitted he had consumed more than 10 alcoholic drinks and a gram of cocaine.

Mr Ord, of Southend Crescent, Eltham, pleaded guilty to two charges of causing death by dangerous driving on Footscray Road, Eltham, south-east London.

Prosecutor Jonathan Polnay told the court how Ord came to the attention of police when he pulled over very close to a squad car at traffic lights for no apparent reason, just after midnight on February 23, 2019.

Officers followed his rented Ford van, intending to speak to him, while the defendant continued driving slowly before police activated their blue lights and siren.

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The court heard how Ord then sped away and driving on the wrong side of the carriageway at the time of the crash.

When he was detained by police, Ord said: ‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry.’

An empty bottle of Budweiser was found in his car.

Workers spreading sand on Footscray Road in Eltham where the man and woman died (PA)

When the defendant was searched, police found a wrap of white powder in his jeans.

Tests revealed Ord was nearly three times the legal drink-drive limit and had drugs in his system.

Ord had a previous conviction for possessing ecstasy with intent to supply in 2001 and received six penalty points and a £576 fine for driving at 94mph on a 60mph dual carriageway in 2017.

Judge Richard Marks QC jailed Ord for nine years and disqualified him from driving for 16 and a half years.

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