A COURT today (Friday, April 5) heard harrowing details of the death of a much-loved grandfather following a road crash - and the devastating impact it had on his family and those close to him.
Reading out emotional tributes to 72-year-old Brian Pattinson, prosecutor Hari Jandoo had to take a moment at one point to wipe tears away from his eyes.
Michael Bristow, 35, of South View, Ushaw Moor, pleaded guilty at the court today to causing the death by careless driving of Mr Pattinson, of Oswald Court, Durham City.
Mr Jandoo said Mr Pattinson was travelling west in a Peugeot 205 on the B6302 in Broom Lane, Ushaw Moor, near Durham, shortly before 9.15am on July 17 last year.
The driver of a Seat Leon, travelling east, had indicated to turn right at a picnic site and had stopped.
An Audi travelling in the same direction stopped behind the Seat and the VW Bora driven by Bristow collided with the rear of the Audi, before swerving head-on into the path of the Mr Pattinson’s Peugeot.
Mr Pattinson was airlifted to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, where he died the following morning.
Bristow told police officers he had been dazzled by the morning sun and had not seen the stationary cars before it was too late.
In her victim impact statement, Mr Pattinson’s partner Lyn Noble described how she had been with him when he died in hospital.
She said: “I was sat holding Brian’s hand when his heart stopped and the machines felt silent.
“I lost the love of my life. I felt as though my heart had been wrenched out. I couldn’t stand the pain.”
His daughter Kelly Pattinson said medical staff had told her he would not survive – and if he did he would be paralysed and brain damaged.
Ms Pattinson said: “If that had happened he would not have forgiven us and would wish himself dead.
“He was active and fit. I told him that as hard as it was I would let him go and it was alright to go."
Mr Pattinson’s son, Sean, said: “The irony was that dad had been taken from us in a car crash.
“When I was two years old (in 1970) my four-year-old brother Tony was killed by a drink-driver.
“It was a big influence on his (my father’s) driving. He was the most well-mannered driver you could wish for and he always tried to instill good driving in others.”
Angus Westgarth, mitigating, said Bristow was driving within the 60mph speed limit when he had a “momentary lapse in concentration with tragic consequences” - and he was remorseful.
Bristow was given an interim driving ban and the case was adjourned to April 25 for sentence.