London

Death crash driver has jail term cut on appeal

Wedding photo of Ben Brooks-Dutton and his wife Desreen Image copyright BEN BROOKS-DUTTON
Image caption Desreen Brooks and her husband Ben Brooks-Dutton had been walking to a train station when she was hit by a car

A pensioner who killed a woman after he mistook the pedals of his car has won a reduction in his 18-month jail sentence.

Desreen Brooks died after she was hit by a car driven by Geoffrey Lederman, 85, from St John's Wood, north-west London.

Three Court of Appeal judges cut the term to 12-months after hearing of Lederman's declining health.

His health has deteriorated in prison, the court heard.

Lord Justice Treacy, Mrs Justice Swift and Mrs Justice Thirlwall rejected arguments that there had been flaws in the sentencing process, but they responded to a plea on behalf of Lederman that the court "exercise its mercy".

The court heard Lederman's mental and physical health had declined.

Giving the judgment of the court, Mrs Justice Thirlwall said: "Having considered all the matters urged upon us, we are satisfied in all the particular circumstances of this case - and the effect on the appellant of the last month [in prison] - it would be appropriate to reduce the sentence."

The pensioner was sentenced to 18-months and disqualified from driving for life at Blackfriars Crown Court on 22 December for causing death by dangerous driving.

The court heard Lederman crashed in to nine pedestrians near West Hampstead train station in north-west London on 10 November 2012.

He was driving home from a bridge tournament in his Mercedes when he mounted the pavement on the wrong side of the road.

Ms Brooks died in front of her husband and toddler son.

Amy Werner, a 23-year-old American student, was thrown into the air by the car and suffered brain damage and lost her sight in one eye following the crash.

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