/Driver, 87, dies in prison days after being jailed for killing woman in car park

Driver, 87, dies in prison days after being jailed for killing woman in car park


Heagren jailed
William Heagren killed Jeanette Newman in a car park tragedy last May (Picture: SWNS)

An 87-year-old driver who killed a woman after confusing the pedals died just days after being jailed.

William Heagren reversed his Ford Fusion into Jeanette Newman, 64, and her friend minutes after he bumped his car on a bollard.

He was jailed for a total of 40 months on December 5 – despite warnings from his legal team that he was frail and could die while behind bars.

An investigation has now been launched after London’s Wormwood Scrubs prisoner died in hospital nine days after sentencing, on December 14.

The pensioner also left Sarah Taylor, 53, with life-changing injuries, following the incident in a Sainsbury’s car park in South Ruislip, London, on May 26.

Barrister David Wood attempted to secure a suspended sentence for his client, saying the ‘frail’ driver needed surgery for a broken hip and was ‘at a stage in his life when even a minor fall could kill him’.


The scene shortly after William Heagren, then 86, hit Jeanette Newman, 64, with his car in the Sainsbury?s car park, in South Ruislip, west London. Veteran motorist William Heagren, 87, has been jailed for 27 months after killing Jeanette Newman, 64, in a Sainsburys? car park when he stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake. See National News story NNcrash. An 87-year-old driver who killed a woman when he stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake in a supermarket car park has been jailed for 27 months. Veteran motorist William Heagren reversed his Ford Fusion into the woman and her pal in a Sainsburys car park minutes after he had bumped his car into a bollard. Harrow Crown Court was told the shunt had left him him ?raging? with himself for ?being a bloody fool." But he still got back into the car on Saturday May 26 last year, wrongly put it into reverse and then hit the wrong pedal.
The scene shortly after William Heagren, then 86, hit Jeanette Newman, 64, in west London (Picture: SWNS)

Collect of Jeanette Newman, 64. Veteran motorist William Heagren, 87, has been jailed for 27 months after killing Jeanette Newman, 64, in a Sainsburys? car park when he stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake. See National News story NNcrash. An 87-year-old driver who killed a woman when he stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake in a supermarket car park has been jailed for 27 months. Veteran motorist William Heagren reversed his Ford Fusion into the woman and her pal in a Sainsburys car park minutes after he had bumped his car into a bollard. Harrow Crown Court was told the shunt had left him him ?raging? with himself for ?being a bloody fool." But he still got back into the car on Saturday May 26 last year, wrongly put it into reverse and then hit the wrong pedal.
Ms Newman died the day after the incident in a Sainsbury’s car park (Picture: SWNS)

But Judge Lana Wood jailed Heagren for 27 months for death by dangerous driving and 13 months for serious injury by dangerous driving.

She also refused his plea for bail pending an appeal after Heagren appeared at Harrow Crown Court using a walking frame.

The tragedy was described as ‘a classic case of pedal confusion’ by an expert collision investigator, who concluded that the mix up between brake and accelerator was a result of driver error.

Mr Wood contested the judge’s decision to jail Heagren, saying it was an ‘exceptional case.’

He said: ‘This man is 87 and the court has before it medical evidence strongly suggesting in the words of a GP that incarceration in a new environment could result in hospital admission for a life threatening illness.

‘That makes this an exceptional case.’


William Heagren, 87, arrives at Harrow Crown Court in North West London. London, December 04 2019. Veteran motorist William Heagren, 87, has been jailed for 27 months after killing Jeanette Newman, 64, in a Sainsburys??? car park when he stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake. See National News story NNcrash. An 87-year-old driver who killed a woman when he stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake in a supermarket car park has been jailed for 27 months. Veteran motorist William Heagren reversed his Ford Fusion into the woman and her pal in a Sainsburys car park minutes after he had bumped his car into a bollard. Harrow Crown Court was told the shunt had left him him ???raging??? with himself for ???being a bloody fool." But he still got back into the car on Saturday May 26 last year, wrongly put it into reverse and then hit the wrong pedal.
Heagren, 87, at Harrow Crown Court earlier this month (Picture: SWNS)

William Heagren, 87, arrives at Harrow Crown Court in North West London. London, December 04 2019. Veteran motorist William Heagren, 87, has been jailed for 27 months after killing Jeanette Newman, 64, in a Sainsburys??? car park when he stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake. See National News story NNcrash. An 87-year-old driver who killed a woman when he stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake in a supermarket car park has been jailed for 27 months. Veteran motorist William Heagren reversed his Ford Fusion into the woman and her pal in a Sainsburys car park minutes after he had bumped his car into a bollard. Harrow Crown Court was told the shunt had left him him ???raging??? with himself for ???being a bloody fool." But he still got back into the car on Saturday May 26 last year, wrongly put it into reverse and then hit the wrong pedal.
He was described as being ‘frail’ (Picture: SWNS)

He added: ‘This is arguably manifestly excessive.’

But the Judge said: ‘Although the conditions he faces are serious, the GP letter doesn’t amount in itself to exceptional reasons. I’m afraid I’m not so persuaded.’

She added: ‘This was a case that has caused me anxiety I have spent a considerable amount of time considering the sentence.

‘It is not a sentence that I give lightly or that I would voluntarily wish to impose. However, in my judgement it is the shortest sentence I can impose.’

CCTV footage shows Heagren, who was 86 at the time of the fatal collision, looking angry when he crashed into a bollard after attempting to move the vehicle.

He got back into the automatic car and reversed it at maximum reverse speed, narrowly missing a dad who had to pull his children out of harm’s way.

Heagren continued until his car hit Ms Newman and Ms Taylor, carrying them towards a bollard, which stopped the Ford after it had travelled 100ft.

Ms Newman was left unconscious and suffered skull, facial and rib fractures, as well as a punctured lung and a blood clot on the brain. Her life support machine was switched off the following morning after surgery to relieve a blood clot on her brain was unsuccessful.

Ms Taylor suffered multiple serious injuries and suffered a stroke linked to the crash.

After the case, Ms Newman’s partner, Andrew Roberts, called on the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to introduce compulsory driving tests for motorists when they turn 70.

thumbnail for post ID 11971743Transgender man gives birth after getting pregnant with female sperm donor

Currently, when drivers reach that age, the DVLA sends them a form to declare their fitness to drive.

They then have to renew their licence every three years.

A Prison Service spokesman said: ‘HMP Wormwood Scrubs prisoner William Heagren died in hospital on December 14.

‘As with all deaths in custody there will be an independent investigation by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman.’

Original Source