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Esh Winning motorist in court accused of causing Sunderland biker's death by dangerous driving
A MAN has appeared in court accused of driving dangerously prior to a fatal collision at a junction on a country road.
Anthony Shelton was at the wheel of a Mitsubishi L200 4x4 pick-up vehicle which collided with a 600cc BMW motorcycle, ridden by Neil Douglas Hamilton, on the B6301 Hedleyhill Lane, near Tow Law, County Durham, on Wednesday April 3.
Mr Hamilton, from South Hylton, Sunderland, was confirmed dead at the scene, at Low West House, at the junction of the minor road leading to the nearby hamlet of East Hedleyhope.
The 60-year-old married father-of-two grown-up sons was a former chief technician at Newcastle University’s Medical School who re-trained as a teacher, working for many years on a supply basis at schools across the North-East.
Mr Shelton, 51, who suffered minor injuries for which he was treated at the scene, was arrested on suspicion of causing death by careless driving.
A 44-year-old female passenger in the Mitsubishi also suffered minor injuries in the accident.
Mr Shelton, who has been on bail pending further police inquiries into the collision, was subsequently charged with the more serious offence of causing death by dangerous driving.
He went before North Durham magistrates on September 17 when the bench sent the case to Durham Crown Court.
Mr Shelton made his first appearance at a preliminary hearing at the crown court today (Tuesday October 1), observed by several members of Mr Hamilton’s family in the public gallery.
The charge was not put to the defendant, but counsel in the case, Jonathan Devlin, for the prosecution, and defence barrister, Stephen Duffield, agreed on arrangements for a provisional trial, to be staged at the court, starting on Wednesday February 19, next year.
Judge Christopher Prince said: “It seems that the issue here will be: ‘Did the driving fall below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver,’ or was it, ‘well below’?
“Namely, the issue is whether it was careless driving or dangerous driving.”
Judge Prince bailed Mr Shelton, of Castle View, Esh Winning, near Durham, to return to court for a plea hearing in the case on Tuesday December 10.