Grieving Mansfield parents slam police commissioner for 'endangering people's lives'

Parents whose son was killed by a speeding driver in Mansfield say Nottinghamshire's police and crime commissioner needs to realise speeding 'is a massive safety issue' after she admitted five separate offences.

By Lucy Roberts
Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 11:48 am
Aaron Britt was killed in a car accident outside West Nottinghamshire College back in 2011.

Dave and Sue Britt‘s son Aaron was just 16 when he was struck by a car on a pedestrian crossing outside West Nottinghamshire College in 2011.

The computer science student was rushed to King’s Mill Hospital and later moved to the QMC, where his parents made the heartbreaking decision to turn off his life-support machine.

“I can still see the whole thing in front of me. It’s something you never forget and I’ve relived it many, many times,” Dave said.

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“We now want to bring it home to people that speeding is a serious offence and many lives could be saved if people took more care.”

The plea comes after Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry admitted to five speeding offences in court this week.

The 52-year-old, who was elected in May 2021, was caught speeding in four locations around the county in March, May and June 2021.

“It really hit home for us because our lad was obviously killed by a speeding driver,” Dave said.

“She’s supposed to be the one in charge of road safety and she’s got five driving offences and still driving around.

“Getting a speeding ticket means you’ve actually done something that has endangered people’s lives. It’s not like having a parking ticket, it’s a massive safety issue.”

Since Aaron’s death, Dave and Sue have been working with road safety charities in Nottinghamshire to help crack down on speeding.

Although there was no prosecution in Aaron’s case, evidence shows the car was going faster than 30mph. At Aaron's inquest, the driver said he didn't know what speed he was doing.

Police estimated the car was travelling at between 36mph and 46mph.

The couple has since helped to facilitate a number of improvements along Nottingham Road, where the fatal accident took place.

Dave said: “We know there are people driving around in the county with up to 22 speeding fines, which is absolutely crazy. Nobody gets to learn any lessons.

“There needs to be more awareness and less of an attitude of ‘it’s a just a speeding ticket, it doesn’t really matter’.

“You see people all the time saying things like ‘I’ve just done a speed awareness course and that’s eight hours of my life I’ll never get back’. I very often respond and remind people our lad was killed by a speeding driver and that’s 70 YEARS of his life he’ll never get back.

“All of his friends are now having kids and their parents have got grandchildren – we haven’t got anything like that, all because of that one stupid decision.”

The couple are pleading with drivers in Mansfield and further afield to take more care and pay attention at all times as a “matter of life and death”.

Dave added: “I was speaking to a pediatrician at King’s Mill who said that more children get knocked down and injured at crossing points than anywhere else.

“Slowing right down could mean the difference between a bump on the head and a crushed skull.

“I can see it from a parent’s point of view, having been involved at the roadside with my son.

“But I can’t even imagine what it must feel like to be the driver of a vehicle striking a child, killing them and knowing full well that I wasn’t paying enough attention or thinking of others.

“It’s bad enough having to live with what we have but I can’t imagine actually being responsible.

“When I’m out driving, I always like to know that I’m doing everything possible to be safe. You need to be on it, because when something happens it just comes out of the blue and all of a sudden your world is blown apart.

“The message is take care and drive safely.”

Commissioner Henry’s case has been adjourned until July 19, when she will be sentenced.

In a statement issued after the hearing this week, Mrs Henry, who did not respond to questions over whether she would resign, said: "I cannot comment on the ongoing case. I will be explaining the context of this matter in due course."

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