15 September 2023

Hotel owner alerted by ‘terrible noise’ that he had run over bride’s mother

15 September 2023

A hotel owner who ran over the mother of a bride-to-be on the eve of the wedding told police the first he knew of the tragedy was a “terrible noise” from under his car, a jury has been told.

Judith Wadsworth, 66, died after she was hit by a Range Rover in the grounds of the Coniston Hotel and Spa, in North Yorkshire, which was being driven by its owner and managing director Nicholas Bannister, Bradford Crown Court has heard.

On Friday, the jury was read a transcript of Bannister’s police interview which took place a few hours after the incident on February 7 2020.

At the beginning of the interview, the defendant agreed that he had told police: “I turned the corner, looked one way, looked the other and didn’t see the lady, sadly.

“I just didn’t see her.”

In the interview, Bannister described how he got into his car outside the hotel with the intention of driving the 300-400m to the spa complex to go for a run.

He described how the incident happened after he turned from the short road from the main entrance on to an access road through the estate.

Bannister said in the interview: “I turned right and the first I was aware was a terrible noise I heard from under my car.

“I assumed something had gone wrong with my car.”

He described how he stopped and was joined by one of his employees who had seen what happened.

Bannister said: “I saw the deceased lady in the road. A lot of blood at the scene. We did what we could. I called for support from the team.”

He said: “They came, and we did what we could but, sadly, it was in vain.”

Later in the interview, the defendant said: “I’ve had four or five hours to reflect on the whole thing. It’s desperately sad. If you could have your time again, you would ….”

The jury has heard how Mrs Wadsworth was preparing for her daughter’s wedding planned for the next day and was returning from the hotel car park to the main reception when the incident happened.

Experts have told the court how it was not possible to work out exactly where the impact took place but was in the vicinity of the walkway across the access road from the car park.

They have worked out that the Range Rover was travelling at between 9-12mph at the time and stopped about 20m from where the collision took place.

Bannister, 64, of Bell Busk, near Skipton, denies causing death by driving without due care and attention.

His trial will resume on Monday.

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