Driver sentenced over death of partially sighted pedestrian in Crawley

A driver who killed a partially sighted man as he attempted to cross a road in Crawley has been sentenced.

Police were called to a collision between a blue Volkswagen Golf and a pedestrian on the A23 Brighton Road at 3.10pm on Friday 29th April, 2016.

The victim, Robert Sims, of Cuckfield Close, Crawley, was sadly pronounced dead at the scene.

The 30-year-old, who is a keen runner, was on his way to the K2 leisure centre when he was struck in lane two of the northbound carriageway.

Both carriageways were closed for several hours while emergency services, including the air ambulance, were in attendance.

The driver – Amir Khan, 23, a mechanic, of Celandine Close, Crawley – received minor injuries and was later interviewed by police.

He denied any wrongdoing, and claimed he braked his car (pictured) as hard as he could when he spotted Mr Sims in the road.

However, evidence including witness statements and forensic analysis suggested he failed to react to the obvious risk presented to him at that location.

Following a trial which concluded at Lewes Crown Court on 13th October, Khan was found guilty of causing death by careless driving.

At the same court on Friday (10th November), he was sentenced to a 12 months Community Order, 180 hours unpaid work, was disqualified from driving for three years and will need to take an extended re-test

Roads Policing Lead Investigator, Sergeant Richard Hornsey, of the Sussex Police Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “This was a tragic incident in which a partially sighted man was killed as he made his way to his local leisure centre.

“It is unfortunate that Mr Sims didn’t use the pedestrian crossing, and instead attempted to cross a few metres along the carriageway. However, there was also an error of judgement from the driver, who clearly could – and should – have acknowledged and reacted to the obvious risk in front of him.

“Failing to do so has had a devastating effect on the victim’s family, the members of the public who witnessed the collision and the members of the emergency services who attended the scene.

“Clearly Khan had not gone out to intentionally harm someone that day, however the incident could have been avoided or the consequences could have been far less serious had he paid proper attention to the risks on the road.

The following tribute has been issued by the family of Mr Sims:

“Losing Robert, our eldest son, on 29th April 2016, has caused unimaginable emotional and psychological pain to us, his parents, and also his twin brothers and his late grandfather (who died in February 2017 – finding it exceptionally difficult to accept that he had outlived his first born grandson.

“His absence from our family is a gaping wound that will never heal, we cover it with dressings each day, but it will always be there. As parents you never expect your child’s death to precede your own. Equally, his twin brothers have been forced to assimilate the fact their older brother will never be there to guide them again, share holidays, evenings out in Brighton or their never ending banter during family occasions.

“The shock and torment of his passing, aged only 30, will always remain. There’s not a day that passes that our thoughts are not affected by him. Of course we always try to treasure our happiest memories, but those are often tainted by this chasm of loss that we feel. We are beset with “Robert Memories” where we remember what was, but can only imagine what might have been.

“He had managed to overcome so many obstacles in his life with positivity and resilience. He was diagnosed with a brain tumour in June 2015 (fortunately benign but pressing on his optic nerve) which affected his sight. He had adapted to independent living again in Crawley and was back at work and showing all the signs of building a new life. Yet all the progress he had made was, we feel, ripped from him when he lost his life.

“As well as the feelings of regret and despair, probably our greatest disappointment is that we will never see where his new found confidence and approach to life would take him, or see him complete his dreams.

“His echoes still resound though among his family and friends, as we all take comfort from the caring, kind, compassionate, generous and often hilarious impact he made on so many lives while he was here.”

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