Call for new driving curbs after toddler’s death

Elderly driver jailed for killing girl, 3, on crossing

The judge said the motorist, John Place, had shown no remorse

A PENSIONER has admitted causing the death of a three-year-old girl by dangerous driving.

John Place, 72, also admitted causing serious injury to Poppy-Arabella Clarke’s mother, Rachel, at the pelican crossing in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham.

Rachel Clarke and her husband, Phil, described their daughter as “the brightest, kindest, most caring” little girl, who was “simply a joy to be around”.

The couple said they were unable to have any more children, which made them “thankful for every second we had with her”.

Place, they said, had shown no remorse, and they called for him to be given a sentence that reflected their “unbearable pain”.

Mother and daughter were crossing a busy road on July 6 last year when they were struck by Place’s Volkswagen Passat. In court yesterday, looking frail and unsteady, he entered pleas, watched by Poppy-Arabella’s parents and their extended family.

Judge Mark Wall QC told Place, of Sutton Coldfield, that he faced jail. The hearing at Birmingham crown court was adjourned for medical reports until March 20.

Granting bail, the judge said: “I must warn you the offences you have pleaded guilty to are so serious that a custodial sentence is inevitable.

“It is only that a judge ought to be in full possession of your medical condition before sentencing that persuades me it’s right to adjourn sentence at all.”

This article first appeared in The Times