Tyne & Wear

Driver admits causing Michael Ritson death

Michael Ritson
Image caption Michael Ritson had stopped to help an injured motorcyclist

A 27-year-old driver has admitted causing the death of a man who had gone to the help of an injured motorcyclist on a Tyneside bypass.

Father-of-three Michael Ritson, 33, from Jarrow, died in hospital following the crash in Gateshead in March.

A car driven by Steven Black had collided with the motorcyclist and he was driving away when he hit Mr Ritson.

He pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and will be sentenced on 2 February.

The judge at Newcastle Crown Court warned Black, of The Riding, Kenton, that he faced a substantial custodial sentence.

The court heard that Mr Ritson, a sound engineer, had got out of his car to help in the aftermath of the crash on the Felling Bypass on 27 March.

Black had rung emergency services and was still talking to them on his mobile phone when he decided to leave the scene.

Thrown from roof

Mr Ritson was in front of the car and was thrown on to the windscreen, then on to the roof.

He suffered head injuries and died in hospital three days' later.

Black had originally been charged with manslaughter and had denied the charge, but his plea of causing death by dangerous driving was accepted.

Judge John Milford said: "The speed of the vehicle was sufficient to cause the windscreen to break as it impacted the deceased.

"The defendant continued to drive forward with the deceased on the roof of the car until he was thrown from it, suffering fatal injuries.

"Only then did the defendant stop his vehicle."

Jamie Hill QC, defending, said Black, who was "fearful" at the time, believed he could get his car past Mr Ritson, who was standing in front of him.

He said: "He was intending to move his car from the immediate vicinity of Mr Ritson but not completely away from the scene."

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