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Midwife death crash trial ends without a verdict

Published date: 24 January 2013 | Published by: Michael Upton



Midwife death crash trial.

A MOTORIST accused of killing a popular midwife by careless driving could face a retrial after a jury failed to reach a verdict.

Jeffrey Walton (51) stood trial at Leeds Crown Court on Tuesday charged with causing the death of 36-year-old Maria Micklethewaite by careless driving on January 13 last year.

Mrs Micklethwaite, who had only married a few months before, had delivered more than 200 babies at Rotherham Hospital.

The 36-year-old, who was from Carlton, Barnsley, was killed when her bicycle was involved in a collision with Walton’s Ford Focus at South Heindley, near Wakefield.

But the jury was discharged on Wednesday afternoon after failing to reach a majority verdict.

Mr Walton, of Station Road, Ryhill, denied causing death by careless driving, and told the court on Tuesday that sunlight meant he could not see anything for around three seconds before his car hit Mrs Micklethwaite.

Ms Sophie Drake, prosecuting, said that Mrs Micklethwaite was a keen cyclist, was wearing a helmet and dressed appropriately at the time of the collision.

She said: “The weather was bright and dry but significantly the sun was sitting very low in the sky and was very bright, and because of its position restricted a driver’s view.”

Mrs Drake said because of the weather conditions Walton should have slowed down or stopped his vehicle.

Walton told the court he had used his arm to shield the sun for his eyes for around three seconds before the collision.

He said: “I looked up the road and I couldn’t see anything coming.”

The jury retired to consider its verdict on Tuesday afternoon but reported a day later that it could not reach a verdict and Mr Walton was able to leave court.

The prosecution has seven days to apply for a re-trial


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