Elderly Peterlee driver must answer Easington Village death crash charges, says judge

Ronnie Johnson

Ronnie Johnson

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter (Derwentside & Tyneside)

A DISTRICT judge has warned that an arrest warrant could be issued for an 84-year-old woman suffering post traumatic stress disorder following the death of a motorcyclist.

Margaret Kirkbride failed to appear in court today (Thursday, May 1) having been charged with causing death by careless driving.

Father-of-two Ronald Johnson died after a collision with her Nissan Micra on the B1283 Seaside Lane, Easington Village, on the evening of October 6.

Peterlee Magistrates' Court heard that Mrs Kirkbride, of Burnside, Peterlee, is suffering post traumatic stress disorder following the incident and was too unwell to attend.

But District Judge Christine Harrison said that a letter from IntraHealth's HealthWorks Medical Centre in Easington was insufficient to excuse her from attending.

The judge said: "This situation cannot go on forever. I will end up issuing a warrant for her arrest. Suffering from post traumatic stress disorder is not good enough. I am not simply going to accept that assertion.

"The doctor will have to come in person to give oral evidence. I will want her here sooner rather than later. It is a matter which has to be faced and dealt with."

The case has been adjourned until May 15 and Mrs Kirkbride's doctor will be summonsed to explain when she will be fit enough to attend.

Mr Johnson, 41, from Holmhill Gardens, Easington Colliery, was riding his black Suzuki GSXR 600 motorbike he had only just bought.

The collision happened as Mrs Kirkbride turned right.

She is also charged with using a car with a lump in the tyre.

A carpet fitter, Mr Johnson had a partner, Marie Hilder, son Jack, seven, and stepson Daniel, 11.

Speaking after the hearing, his brother, Alan Johnson, 46, said: "I was behind him on my own bike and I had to watch. It was horrible.

"We have all come to court to today because Ronnie meant everything to our family."

Comments (2)

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8:21am Fri 2 May 14

Thomas Atkins says...

The learned judge said ' Suffering from post traumatic stress disorder is not good enough' - It was a good enough defence for Kevin Thakrar when he tried (allegedly) to murder three prison officers at HMP Frankland.
The learned judge said ' Suffering from post traumatic stress disorder is not good enough' - It was a good enough defence for Kevin Thakrar when he tried (allegedly) to murder three prison officers at HMP Frankland. Thomas Atkins
  • Score: 10

12:53pm Fri 2 May 14

MartinMo says...

Regardless, she caused death by careless (= dangerous driver) and should sentenced and punished even if it means spending her last years behind bars.

Personal circumstances should not be taken into consideration when you're guilty of a severe crime.
Regardless, she caused death by careless (= dangerous driver) and should sentenced and punished even if it means spending her last years behind bars. Personal circumstances should not be taken into consideration when you're guilty of a severe crime. MartinMo
  • Score: -1

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