County Durham motorist to stand trial accused of causing death of Wearside motorcyclist by dangerous driving

The Northern Echo: New family issue photograph of supply teacher Neil Hamilton, who died at the scene of a collision on a rural road in County Durham, in April. New family issue photograph of supply teacher Neil Hamilton, who died at the scene of a collision on a rural road in County Durham, in April.

A MOTORIST has accepted responsibility for an accident which led to the death of a motorcyclist on a country road.

But Anthony Shelton is to stand trial in the New Year as he claims he was not driving dangerously prior to the collision with a 600cc motorcycle ridden by Neil Douglas Hamilton.

Mr Hamilton, who was thrown from his BMW machine, was confirmed dead at the scene, at Low West House, on the B6301 Hedleyhill Lane, near Tow Law, County Durham, on Wednesday April 3.

The 60-year-old supply teacher, from South Hylton, Sunderland, was a married father of two grown-up sons.

He previously worked as chief technician at Newcastle University’s Medical School.

Mr Shelton, who was driving a Mitsubishi L200 4x4 pick-up vehicle, and a 44-year-old female passenger, both suffered minor injuries for which they were treated at the scene.

The 51-year-old, of Castle View, Esh Winning, County Durham, was charged with causing the death of Mr Hamilton by dangerous driving.

He denied the charge at a plea hearing in the case at Durham Crown Court today (Tuesday December 10).

But after his barrister, Stephen Duffield, told the court the defendant would be prepared to admit the lesser charge of causing death by careless driving, it was added as a new count.

It was subsequently put to Mr Shelton, who pleaded guilty.

Dan Cordey, prosecuting, said the Crown would still seek a trial on the more serious charge of causing death by dangerous driving.

He told the court that the prosecution would be calling evidence from a driving accident investigation expert.

Adjourning the case pending the trial, Judge Christopher Prince told Mr Shelton: “It will be for a jury to determine if your driving was actually dangerous.”

Due to the guilty plea to the lesser charge, Judge Prince imposed an interim driving disqualification on Mr Shelton, who was bailed to return for the trial at the court, on February 19.

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Hamilton’s wife, Christine, said: “We can't express in words how much we miss Neil, a wonderful husband, dad and best friend.

“Facing our first Christmas without him is almost too much to bear.

“There will be an empty place at our table as well as in our hearts that can never be filled.”

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