An 81-year-old man told nine years ago to stop driving due to his failing eyesight who lied to the DVLA killed another pensioner after running him over while speeding.

Neil Pemberton, of Brownhill Road, Blackburn, is deaf and extremely visually impaired, and was driving 18mph over the 30mph speed limit when he hit and killed 80-year-old Peter Westwell on March 17, 2022.

In cruel irony, Mr Westwell, a much-loved grandfather and lover of the outdoors, had recently given up his driving licence on advice of his doctor due to his deteriorating vision, and had begun walking more as a result.

At around 12.45pm, he was crossing the road in Whalley Road, Langho, during his daily walk when he was hit and killed by Pemberton.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Preston Crown Court heard how Mr Westwell, a widower who had overcome severe illness during Covid was, according to his daughter Hazel Dewhurst, a “proud and fiercely independent man who worked very hard to keep his fitness levels high and loved nothing more than walking in the Yorkshire Dales and fishing in Scotland”.

Prosecuting, Emma Kehoe said: “The facts were tragic and are also very sad.

"Peter Westwell, despite his 80-years-of age, was a very spritely man, and was out on his usual lunchtime walk.

“Neil Pemberton was driving and the two unfortunately met in the A666 Whalley Road in Langho.

“Neil Pemberton was driving towards the A59 and was approaching a sweeping left-hand bend where the speed limit is 30mph.

“Mr Westwell was on the opposite side of the road to the car but walking in the same direction as the vehicle.

“Mr Westwell was on a grass verge when he decided to cross the carriageway to the opposite side of the road.

“He crossed just as the Honda Jazz was approaching and it was as he stepped into the carriageway that the car was driving down he and Neil Pemberton’s car collided.

“As a result of that, unfortunately Peter Westwell was hit straight on.

“He went onto the bonnet of the vehicle and was thrown into the air and lay at the scene on the floor.”

Ms Kehoe told the court a BMW Mini had been travelling in the opposite direction at the time and had captured the whole incident clearly on its dashcam.

She went on: “Mr Westwell was pronounced dead at the scene, despite efforts from many members of the public who came to his assistance and tried interventions to save his life.”

Judge Simon Medland KC said: “Am I right in thinking that Peter Westwell would have been visible to the oncoming motorist for about 100 yards and the defendant’s car was being driven by him in excess of the 30mph speed limit, at 48mph?”

Miss Kehoe replied: “Yes, there’s a collision report that concludes what your honour has just said.

“It was through the analysis of CCTV that the approximation of speed was calculated.

“Six days after the collision the defendant was asked to do a sight test, which is what you would be expected to do when you sit your driving test, or it was when I sat mine.

“He was asked to read a number plate at a certain distance but he could not manage it at all.

“Further enquiries were then made by the police as to the defendant’s eyesight.”

Ms Kehoe said Pemberton had been having problems with his sight for some nine years before the incident, and had been told that his eyesight was failing and that he should not be driving.

She added: “But when he filled in his renewal documents with the DVLA, he ticked the box indicating there was nothing wrong with his eyesight, and he was granted his licence time and time again.

“The defendant was behind the wheel when he shouldn’t have been because his eyesight was failing, and he was also driving far too fast.

“Should he have been driving in accordance with the speed limit the collision would not have occurred and Mr Westwell would perhaps still be alive today.”

In mitigation for Pemberton, Richard English told the court this was not a case where anything he said could alleviate the grief Mr Westwell’s family were feeling.

He said: “Neil Pemberton is not in good physical health and has COPD.

"He is very deaf and his eyesight has been badly affected, and this has effected his ability to do the things he enjoys and his world has become much smaller, and he has been deeply impacted by what happened.

“He attempted to take his own life and while no further attempts have been made he suffers low mood and depression.

“He finds it very hard to accept what he did was dangerous and was the cause of someone else’s death – which is a natural protection for oneself more than anything else.

“There’s been a noticeable deterioration in him since March 2022 and the time this has taken to come to court has taken its toll on him.

“It goes without saying he’s desperately sorry and distraught. He is aware of the impact of what he has done and the impact on Mr Westwell’s family and friends.

“He accepts full responsibility and he did not mean to cause any harm, and I would ask if you could suspend any sentence.”

Jailing Pemberton, who pleaded guilty to death by dangerous driving, for two years, eight months, Judge Medland said: “You caused the death of Peter Westwell, a man of 80 who was robust and healthy.

“He was a pedestrian who was crossing the road.

“He would’ve been visible to you for 100 yards before impact, but you did not see him or if you did you did not alter your driving.

“I say at this stage that the court’s deepest condolences are extended to the family of Peter Westwell.

“You were driving your car when you were, and knew you were, medically unfit to drive.

"You have extremely poor eyesight and you had been told not to drive as long ago as 2013.

“You had your eyes tested in 2016 and it was noted you had no vision in your right eye and poor vision in your left.

“And on the last two occasions going back nine years you had been warned about your eyesight and it was obvious to you and everyone else that it was very poor indeed.

“You were in no fit state medically to drive and yet you did so.

“By driving your car on a public road when you knew you were in no fit state you selfishly put your independence above the safety of other road users and pedestrians.

“Mr Westwell’s daughter said he had been forced to give up his driving licence due to his age, and for him to carry on would have been selfish, but you decided to keep your licence by being completely dishonest.

“As the population ages and as more older people continue to drive their cars there must be robust mechanisms in place to ensure elderly drivers are safe.

“Those in authority may wish to review whether this process is robust enough.

“I disqualify you from driving for the rest of your life and sentence you to two years, eight months in prison.”