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Unlicensed driver killed his partner

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: November 02, 2012

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A ST EWE pensioner with no valid licence caused the death of his partner by careless driving – and showed no remorse, a judge said.

Derek Knight, 68, was approaching a cyclist when he veered off the A39 on to a grass verge and hit a tree.

His partner Wendy Buttery, 76, a front-seat passenger, died at the scene of the accident, on June 4, 2011.

Knight, of the Old Stables, denied causing her death by careless driving, insisting a piece of cardboard had interfered with the pedals.

At Truro Crown Court on Thursday a jury unanimously convicted him of the charge, bringing gasps of relief from Mrs Buttery's family and neighbours seated in the public gallery.

Judge Graham Cottle said: "Any time he got into that vehicle or any other vehicle he was committing a crime. I don't think he should ever drive again, quite frankly."

Knight had not shown any kind of remorse, he said. "If you kill your partner of 25 years by a piece of driving that's pretty poor, don't you feel sorry for that?"

Knight, dressed in a crumpled shirt and braces, listened to the verdict with a hearing aid. Leaving the dock, he ranted that it was "another miscarriage of justice", then thanked the judge for his time, "even though you did accept lies from both sides".

Knight and Mrs Buttery, a grandmother six times over, were between the crematorium and Trispen when the accident happened.

Knight told jurors he did not have a valid UK driving licence but had owned an international licence and had driven in 42 countries.

He claimed a piece of card had fallen from under the dashboard of his Peugeot 307, obstructing the pedals, causing the engine to rev and preventing him braking, but the jury heard a forensic examination found nothing that would have affected the controls and the car was in serviceable condition.

Knight also said after the accident he had lifted the bonnet and disconnected the battery.

Philip Lee, for the prosecution, said Knight threw "explanations in the air like confetti in the hope they would land in the right place. It's an invention by this man in a desperate attempt to explain what happened.

"If the explanation is untrue, there would be no reason for his feet to be trapped, there would be no reason for the engine to be revving and there would be no reason for him not to apply the brake if there was an emergency."

Mr Lee said Knight failed to react appropriately when he rounded a bend, with a cyclist ahead: "He carried out a completely unnecessary manoeuvre on to the verge and all the risks associated with it and just lost control."

Members of Mrs Buttery's family said they were pleased with the verdict.

Stepdaughter Maria White, 54, whose late father Dennis was married to Mrs Buttery for more than 30 years, said: "I'm pleased it's on record that he killed her by careless driving but there are still a lot of unanswered questions. We're hopeful of a custodial sentence because we feel that it would be appropriate.

"As the judge said, he showed no remorse, and that's what hurts. He couldn't even say, 'I'm sorry I killed her'."

Knight was due to be sentenced yesterday.

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  • ScaredAmoeba  |  November 06 2012, 4:59PM

    by bissoeboyTuesday, November 06 2012, 4:16PM "Using Jimmy Saville as a comparison to motorists probably didnt help with the arrow situation." You may well be right. They're probably the same kind of pig-ignorant individuals who can't distinguish between a paedophile and and a paediatrician. http://tinyurl.com/9ldrh

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  • bissoeboy  |  November 06 2012, 4:16PM

    Using Jimmy Saville as a comparison to motorists probably didnt help with the arrow situation.

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  • josdave  |  November 06 2012, 3:39PM

    Drivers in general are a very selfish group of individuals. Whenever I ask someone why he/she doesn't drink and drive the answer always is "I don't want to lose my licence" never "I'm afraid I might kill or injure someone". Once the magic age of 17 is attained they seem to think they have a right to speed around the country in the most dangerous machine ever made available to the general public. Given the astronomical accident rate among the 17-25 age group I can see nothing wrong in raising the legal age fro driving to 21 as the vast majority at 17 are not responsible enough. Why everyone seems to have it in for scaredamoeba I don't know or understand and I guess that will be a few red arrows for me from those who put right to drive recklessly above the rights of the general public to a safe existence.

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  • ScaredAmoeba  |  November 06 2012, 2:49PM

    If anyone wanted, or need evidence of sociopaths in society then those who are marking down my posts must surely be evidence of their existence. Because whoever is involved must clearly believe that their freedom to drive is more important than a person's life.

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  • bissoeboy  |  November 06 2012, 1:59PM

    Sociopath - A person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience.

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  • ScaredAmoeba  |  November 06 2012, 11:51AM

    What superb evidence of multiple accounts! The person involved must be either the scum invoved, or part of the scum's antisocial circle.

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  • ScaredAmoeba  |  November 04 2012, 10:10PM

    Cornishbabe70 I'm hardly trying to justify any death or lawless action on the road and I refuse to justify the unjustifiable. Many drivers who kill don't seem to feel they were in the wrong, they blame the victim, whose account cannot be heard. Quite typical of a sociopath. It would appear the driver's fan-club are marking down my comments. They might think different if one of their nearest and dearest were mown-down and injured by somebody who then drove-off, as 65 drivers do in London every week, as reported 30th August in the Evening Standard. ------ To the anonymous individuals who mark-down comments, while cowardly refraining from attempting to justify the unjustifiable, your actions speak more clearly about you and your motives than you could possibly understand.

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  • cornishbabe70  |  November 04 2012, 9:36PM

    sacredAmoeba,okay okay, this was tragic,but why did the man not show any remorse towards his beloved partner?

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  • ScaredAmoeba  |  November 04 2012, 5:37PM

    All the hoo-haa about the apparently intensely obnoxious Jimmy Savile, meanwhile motorists are getting away with little short of murder and largely scot-free to boot. In the five years from 2005-09, there were 226 pedestrians killed by motor vehicles on footways and verges in that five-year period: 161 by cars, 65 by other vehicles. That's an average of 45 a year, almost one a week. Yet there's barely a whisper about this. The victims of Jimmy Savile will get over their experiences. Those people mown-down by maniacs, never do.

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  • ScaredAmoeba  |  November 04 2012, 12:55PM

    Why do those individuals who object to my comments not have the guts to justify their position that their freedom to drive is more important than someone's life? Show some guts and make your case here, in Public. If you mark this comment down, you are a pathetic individual.

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