The grieving son of a 61-year-old woman has told how his life will never be the same after his mother was tragically knocked down and killed by a speeding dangerous driver.
Derby Crown Court heard how Derek Talbot-Smith, 50, formerly of Stormont Grove, at Inkersall, Chesterfield, shot through a cross roads of traffic lights on the A6135 Sheffield Road, at Eckington, before his van struck cleaner Dorothy Wild and flung her over 14 metres down the road.
John Straw, prosecuting, said pedestrian Mrs Wild had been going to work at the Mossbrook Inn and was struck while crossing the road from a bus stop near the pub.
Mrs Wild’s son Darren Hicklin stated: “The events of that day when my mum was tragically knocked over on her way to work will stay with me for the rest of my life.”
Mr Hicklin added that he struggles to sleep and has been left depressed and anxious and is deeply upset that his mother will never be able to enjoy her retirement.
He added: “The pain of losing a parent is a pain I will have for the rest of my life. I am angry I will never have time to love and care for her as she did for me.
“I just pray she did not feel one second of pain. For months after the loss I wake up hoping it’s a bad dream but the minute you open your eyes it hits me and I know I will never get a chance to speak to her again.
“If my mum had been a minute earlier or later the world would not have changed.”
Talbot-Smith’s blue van was captured on dash-cam footage from another driver waiting at the lights on Church Street and Eckington Road, according to prosecuting barrister Mr Straw, as the defendant’s van sped through the changing lights.
Mr Straw added CCTV footage from the Mossbrook Inn showed Mrs Wild being struck by Talbot-Smith’s van and being flung 14 to 15 metres from the point where she had been crossing.
Experts revealed that the speed of the van at the time of the incident at about 8am, on Friday, May 4, 2018, could be estimated at between 48mph and 51mph in a 30mph zone.
The defendant’s van was also caught on camera pulling up some metres away from the collision.
Mr Straw said: “It was a course of bad driving which began with an effort to drive too quickly to get through the lights before they changed and ended with the tragic consequence.”
Talbot-Smith, of Westfield Southway, Sheffield, who has previous convictions for threatening behaviour, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and assault occasioning grievous bodily harm, pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.
Defence barrister Julia King said: “Mr Talbot-Smith is anxious that I convey his remorse and contrition which is genuine.”
She added that Talbot-Smith accepts his responsibility for the collision and the death of Mrs Wild and that he had exceeded the speed limit.
Ms King argued Talbot-Smith has no previous driving convictions and there were no other aggravating features with his driving. She also claimed that other motorists are known to exceed the speed limit along that same road.
Mrs King added: “He punishes himself daily because he does not feel he deserves to live when Dorothy Wild did not.”
Recorder John Butterfield QC told Talbot-Smith that everything Dorothy Wild was and could ever be has been destroyed by him.
He said: “All she was and could have ever been was destroyed by you. It was wholly unavoidable and she was robbed of her retirement years.
“She was a conscientious lady going to work that morning. A source of light and love to those who cared for her.”
He further told Talbot-Smith: “Had you been travelling in the speed limit this death would not have occurred because you would have had time to brake and she would have had time to cross.
“The speed was calculated at about 52mph. You did not go through a red light but you could not have stopped in time if the lights had stopped sooner.”
Recorder Butterfield QC sentenced Talbot-Smith on July 31 to three years of custody and disqualified him from driving for four years and the ban will begin on his release from prison.
Mr Hicklin added: “Any person who has children knows that a bond between a mother and a son is unbreakable.
“I just wish I could have done the same for her and kept her safe. I do not think I will come to terms with what happened.
“And for the rest of my life I will have to battle to come to terms with the fact my mum is no longer here.”
Mrs Wild’s stepdaughter Claire Everson also told how Mrs Wild had been a carer for her poorly father who has been left heartbroken.