Jail for Caerphilly pensioner, 96, with cataracts who hit and killed pedestrian

270123 William Beer
Credit: Gwent Police

A 96-year-old man who was told not to get behind the wheel of a car because of his poor eyesight has been jailed for causing death by dangerous driving.

William Beer was driving on Bedwas Road in Caerphilly when he collided with an 84-year-old man, Illtyd Morgan, who was crossing the road.

Mr Beer hit Mr Morgan just after midday on 6 April 2021.

Despite the efforts of emergency services, Illtyd Morgan sadly died later that day.

During an eye examination in March 2019, William Beer was advised not to drive as his eyesight was so poor because of bilateral cataracts.

Mr Beer - who’s now 20 days short of his 97th birthday - appeared at Newport Crown Court after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.

Victim Impact statements were read to the court, including one from Mr Morgan’s son Gareth, who said that his father’s death had caused him “anguish” and led to him making plans to take his own life.

Mr Morgan’s wife said the victim was “not just her husband but her friend”, and that she “couldn’t believe he wasn’t coming home” after 58 happy years.

Giving evidence at today’s hearing, Mr Beer said he thought his vision had been improved by the injections he’d received.

The court heard that he’s been his wife’s full time carer until her recent death, and that he was a “loved father, grandfather and great-grandfather.”

But in sentencing, judge His Honour Richard Williams said he “was sure” that Mr Beer knew his eyesight was not good enough to drive and he’d failed to bring his disability to the notice of the authorities.

A “selfish decision” which, the judge said, had a “devastating effect on Mr Morgan’s family. 

William Beer was sentenced to 28 months in prison and disqualified from driving for 6 years and 2 months. 

PC David Thomas from the Serious Collision Investigation team and officer in the case said: “This is a tragic case that has resulted in the needless loss of a life.

“William Beer’s decision to drive with very poor eyesight has led to the tragic collision causing the death of Illtyd Morgan, who was crossing the road.

“He was left with no option but to plead guilty owing to the overwhelming amount of evidence gathered.

“Our thoughts remain with the family at this time.”