A JUDGE has issued a warrant for the arrest of a banned driver accused of causing a crash on the M42 which claimed the life of a Coventry pensioner and seriously injured his wife.
Tony Owens had pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court last year to causing the death of 83-year-old Raymond Goode by driving a Peugeot 307 dangerously on the M42 in August 2017.
Owens (37) formerly of Charlbury Avenue, Fordbridge, Birmingham, also denied causing serious injury to Cathryn Goode, then aged 74, by dangerous driving.
Owens, who also faced charges of failing to stop after the accident, failing to report it, driving without insurance and driving without a licence, had been due to stand trial this week.
Instead, at the request of his solicitor, the case was listed for him to enter pleas to the charges of causing the death of Mr Goode and serious injury to Mrs Goode.
And it was anticipated that Owens, now of Westfield Avenue, Ashby-de-la-Zouche, Leicestershire, would now admit the charges and be sentenced.
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, at the request of prosecutor Andrew Wilkins, Judge Peter Cooke issued a warrant for Owens to be arrested.
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 was charged after later handing himself in at a Birmingham police station.
At the original hearing, Judge Cooke had asked: “Is he still saying he was ignorant of the fact that the DVLA had revoked his licence?” And Owens’ lawyer said he was.
Adjourning the case on that occasion, and granting Owens bail, the judge warned him: “Remember, you do not have a driving licence. You are not to get behind the wheel of a car.”