2nd Jul, 2022

Driver alleged to have killed OAP, 83, on M42 is behind bars after failing to appear in court

Editorial Correspondent 31st Jan, 2019 Updated: 31st Jan, 2019

A DRIVER who cynically failed to turn up at court for a hearing over an allegation that he caused the death of a Coventry pensioner in a crash on the M42 is behind bars.

But the judge who jailed Tony Owens for failing to surrender to his bail at Warwick Crown Court was told he maintains his not guilty plea to causing death by dangerous driving.

So Judge Potter adjourned that case for a trial on a date to be fixed subject to the availability of witnesses, and remanded Owens (37) formerly of Charlbury Avenue, Fordbridge, Birmingham, in custody until then.

Owens, now of Westfield Avenue, Ashby-de-la-Zouche, had pleaded not guilty last year to causing the death of 83-year-old Raymond Goode by driving a Peugeot 307 dangerously.

He also denied causing serious injury to Mr Goode’s wife Cathryn Goode, then aged 74, by dangerous driving.

Owens also faced charges of failing to stop after the accident, failing to report it, driving without insurance and driving without a licence.

The charges follow a crash involving the Peugeot and the Goodes’ gold-coloured Vauxhall Agila on the M42 between junctions 10 and 11, near Tamworth, at around 8.50pm on August 19, 2017.

The emergency services attended rapidly, but front seat passenger Mr Goode, who lived in Coventry but with his wife had previously run a hairdressing salon in Atherstone, was declared dead at the scene.

Mrs Goode, who was driving, was in a critical condition, and was rushed by ambulance to hospital, where her condition a couple of days later was said to be ‘serious but stable.’

Owens was alleged to have driven from the scene, but later handed himself in at a Birmingham police station.

The case had been listed for trial at the beginning of January, but instead, at the request of Owens’ solicitor, it was listed for the charges to be put to him again.

But he failed to turn up, and Mark Nicholls, defending, confirmed that Owens was aware of the hearing, adding that he had tried to ring him, but his phone had gone to voice mail.

So the judge on that occasion issued a warrant for his arrest, and after it was executed Owens admitted failing to surrender to his bail and was jailed for six weeks.

Prosecutor Andrew Wilkins said Owens’ failure to turn up for a hearing for which Mr Goode’s relatives were at court was ‘in the highest, most cynical bracket.’

In relation to the driving charges, Mr Nicholls said he could no longer represent Owens, who was ‘adamant’ that he maintains his not guilty pleas.

Jailing Owens for his failure to attend the previous hearing, Judge Potter told him: “The family of Raymond Goode attended on that occasion.

“It doesn’t take any imagination to understand the added distress it would cause to them when you didn’t attend, and there was considerable frustration caused to the administration of justice.”

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