A MOTORIST has been cleared of causing the death of a man as he walked home after a night out with workmates.
After deliberating for 90 minutes at Leicester Crown Court, a jury of six men and six women unanimously acquitted 47-year-old Robert David Burbury of causing Leighton Hollins’ death by driving without due care and attention.
The defendant, of Salisbury Drive, Midway, had denied the charge, brought after his Ford Mondeo hit the victim, 29, of Fairfield Crescent, Newhall, on November 19, 2011, on the A511 Ashby by-pass, near its junction with Discovery Way.
Judge Sylvia De Bertodano told Burbury: “You leave court as a man of good character, as you arrived.
“This is at the end of what I am sure has been an ordeal for you.”
She said her heart went out to those involved, adding: “These sorts of events are tragic. We all know they are.”
Earlier, giving evidence on the trial’s third day, Burbury said he was travelling to work at Kuehne and Nagel Logistics Ltd, near Coalville, when his attention was drawn to a pedestrian on the nearside of an unlit section of road.
He was ‘a good way off’ and walking towards him.
“I just automatically lifted it (my foot) straight off (the accelerator) and automatically covered the brake,” the defendant said.
“As I got closer he started walking across the road towards me,” Burbury told the court.
“He was at an oblique angle going across the road in front of me.
“He was three or four seconds in front of me.”
When Mr Hollins was in front of him ‘he turned, stepped back and put his arms up’, Burbury said.
“He seemed to come back into my lane and at the same time moved backwards,” the defendant said.
“It happened quickly.”
Burbury told the court he braked and turned towards the kerb as his car hit Mr Hollins, forcing him into the air and over the top.
The defendant dialled 999 and was told how to resuscitate the casualty, which he attempted with help from a motorcyclist.
But Hollins, a lorry driver for Arla Foods, who had almost three times the legal limit of alcohol in his blood, died of multiple injuries.
Burbury said he could not have done more to prevent the tragedy and that he did not lose concentration.
However, prosecutor Stephen Kemp claimed Mr Hollins’ death would have been avoided if Burbury had braked sooner.
“He does not seem to have been cautious,” he said.
“It seems he made no allowance for such possibility.
“Burbury paid insufficient care and attention. He simply assumed he (the pedestrian) would have been clear of his lane by the time he reached him.”
But Sally Hancox, defending, said Burbury was driving ‘at a normal and acceptable speed’, adding the pedestrian had gone into an area where there were chevrons on the road after clearing Burbury’s lane.
“No winners will emerge from this,” she said. “He knows he killed a man. He stayed there and tried to help him.”