Pensioner admits his dangerous driving caused death of much loved gran

Ann Copley Credit: Family photo

A pensioner has admitted his dangerous driving caused the death of a Carlisle grandmother in a head-on A66 crash tragedy.

Colin Brown, aged 78, was not in attendance at the city’s crown court this morning. But, during a short hearing in front of Recorder Anna Vigars QC, Brown pleaded guilty to causing the death of Ann Copley by dangerous driving, over a telephone line from his home in Suffolk.

No details were outlined in court about his offence, which was committed just before 12-15pm on Tuesday, 14th August, 2018, when a head-on crash occurred close to the Llama Karma Kafe just east of Penrith.

This involved a white Renault Master van - towing a caravan - being driven by Brown, and a Citroen C3 driven by 76-year-old Mrs Copley, of Montgomery Court, Carlisle, who died.

Injured in the crash, Brown, of Upper Street, Layham, near Ipswich, was flown to the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough for treatment.

Brown’s barrister, Andrew Nuttall, told the court he was in the “high risk” category due to medical issues, and was currently shielding ahead of a major operation.

The crash happened on the A66, just east of Penrith. Credit: Google

In an address to the judge, Recorder Anna Vigars QC, Mr Nuttall asked for the probation service to prepare a background report, and said: “I am asking Your Honour to adjourn the matter to Friday, 11th September, because he is simply not going to be in a position to leave his bed or anywhere until that time.

“Hopefully a pre-sentence report can be obtained during that period of time on which he is recuperating. We will just have to see how that goes.”

Mr Nuttall stated of Brown, who is on bail and will receive a driving ban when sentenced in September: “May I assure everyone he has not been driving. He is not in a position to drive. He is not driving.”

Recorder Vigars did adjourn the case until that date but acknowledged it was a “matter of huge sensitivity and places an enormous burden on Mrs Copley’s family and others”.

Addressing relatives of Mrs Copley who were in court to hear the guilty plea entered, the judge said: “I am so sorry for your loss and I am sorry there will be one more hearing for you to come back to, but you will understand we are doing all we can to make sure, on that date, there will be a hearing.”

In a statement issued following the collision, Mrs Copley’s family spoke of being “devastated” by the death of much loved mother who adored her grandchildren, and who was “full of joy”, “the life and soul” and would be “missed dearly”.