A speeding driver who knocked down and killed a three-year-old boy two weeks before Christmas was handed a two-year driving ban and a £300 fine on Tuesday.
Appearing at Newtownards Magistrates Court by videolink, 24-year-old David Winter entered a guilty plea to a single count of excess speed, travelling at 48 mph along the Movilla Road in the town on 13 December 2018.
A prosecuting lawyer told the court how there were multiple 999 calls at around 5.15pm about a pedestrian being struck by a car.
When the emergency services arrived at the scene, they found three-year-old Kai Corkum lying on the grass verge and although he was treated at the scene and rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital, he died the following day.
Police enquiries established that Kai had been walking along the road with his aunt and her partner when he crossed the road and was struck by Winter’s VW Golf, leaving him on the grass verge.
Winter stopped and was spoken to by police at the scene, admitting that he had been speeding and defence solicitor Adrian Harvey said while Winter himself estimated his speed had been around 50mph, an expert engineer who examined the scene, CCTV footage and the vehicle estimated he had been travelling around 48mph when he struck Kai, which is eight miles-per-hour over the limit for that road.
The solicitor told the court there had been a “lengthy investigation” whether there was a link between the speed and Kai’s death “and it’s come back as just excess speed,” adding that “it would appear that the child ran out into the road…it’s a tragedy.”
Winter, from Brownlow Street in Comber, has always admitted that he was driving too fast, said the lawyer, even when he was standing at the side of the road “in shock.”
“He was interviewed that night and he left the station in the early hours of the morning - I took him home and he was distraught,” revealed Mr
Harvey who conceded that while the impact on Kai’s family “cannot be underestimated…it’s had an impact on him as well.”
The solicitor told the court: “He does wish me to express again his sadness and sympathy to the family - it was just an unfortunate accident that he
managed to let go of the hand of his aunt and run out and collided with his car.”
Describing it as “an absolutely tragic case,” District Judge Amanda Brady said “obviously the prosecution have considered this very carefully and they
have not charged him with a more serious offence that would see him in the Crown Court such as death by dangerous driving.”
Given the decision to charge Winter with excess speed, “all this court can do is either disqualify or impose penalty points- there’s no disposal that I
can put in place that could effectively ease the family’s suffering, it’s just not possible,” said the judge.
Imposing a two year driving ban and a £300 fine, Judge Brady said while Winter had a clear record.
The judged added “there were catastrophic consequences” which she viewed as a “severe aggravating feature.”
“There’s no sentence, of course, that could ever compensate for the loss of a child, nothing ever could,” the judge concluded.