Killer driver facing jail after Northumberland hit and run crash

David Robinson entered guilty pleas to a string of driving offences after Kathleen Heslop was killed as she crossed the road in Prudhoe

Flowers at the scene in Prudhoe
Flowers at the scene in Prudhoe where Kathleen Heslop was knocked down

A killer driver who knocked down a pensioner and her pet dog before speeding away from the scene of the crash has been warned he is facing jail.

Kathleen Heslop died alongside her pet Miniature Schnauzer Trudy after David Robinson ploughed his Saab into the 64-year-old as she crossed the road in Prudhoe, Northumberland.

Despite smashing the front windscreen of his car, he raced from the scene and tried to “avoid detection” from investigating detectives.

Now Robinson, Woodhead Road, Prudhoe, has admitted a string of driving offences including causing death by dangerous driving.

Warning 27-year-old he was facing jail, Judge Jeremy Freedman told Newcastle Crown Court: “You’ve had the good sense to plead guilty to a charge of causing death by dangerous driving. It’s an extremely sad case all round, sad for you and very sad for the family of Kathleen Heslop.

Kathleen Heslop who was killed walking her dog in Prudhoe
Kathleen Heslop who was killed walking her dog in Prudhoe
 

“It was an avoidable, preventable death and had you not driven substantially in excess of the speed limit or failed to keep a look out this accident would not have occurred. You didn’t stop at the scene and drove off when you knew perfectly well that you had collided with something or someone.

“Your vehicle was substantially damaged and the windscreen was smashed. Not only did you not stop at the scene you attempted to avoid detection. You did eventually hand yourself in but for some time tried to avoid being apprehended. As you are fully aware you face a very substantial period in custody.

“It needs not be said that no amount of time spent in custody will bring back Kathleen Heslop or appease her family, but this is a very serious offence which will lead to a long term in prison.”

Mrs Heslop was killed along with her beloved pet Trudy when they were struck by a car near her home in in July this year.

Father-of-one Robinson, who works on a farm in Prudhoe, was behind the wheel of a Saab when shortly before 10.30pm on Saturday July 13, police received a report of a pedestrian collision on the B6395 Stonyflat Bank in Prudhoe.

Both Mrs Heslop and Trudy died as a result of their injuries. Prosecutors claim Robinson then fled the scene of the accident, despite damage to his vehicle.

Mrs Heslop lived on Eastwood Road, close to the spot where she died. The pet-lover was well-known in the Prudhoe community and could regularly be seen walking her dog around the town.

Following the incident, Mrs Heslop’s loved ones made emotional trips to the scene of the collision to lay flowers and pay their respects.

Robinson had originally denied causing Mrs Heslop’s death but yesterday entered guilty pleas to charges of causing death by dangerous driving, causing death by driving while uninsured, dangerous driving, failing to stop after an accident and failing to report an accident.

Family members of both Mrs Heslop and Robinson sat in the public gallery as the charges were put to him.

Geoff Knowles, defending Robinson, told the court yesterday: “Both the family of the victim and the defendant’s family will have had a harrowing time since this particular incident and in the last couple of days. This is clearly a sensitive and indeed tragic case.”

Robinson was remanded in custody until he is sentenced next month.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer