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Wrong-way driver, 86, jailed after causing death of motorcyclist on M20

PUBLISHED: 15:09 21 August 2017 | UPDATED: 15:09 21 August 2017

Police

Police

(c) marcyano

Leonard Pettifer was sentenced to 18 months on Monday

An elderly motorist who performed a U-turn on the M20, drove on the wrong side for two miles and crashed into a motorbike, causing the death of its rider, has been jailed for 18 months.

Leonard Pettifer, 86, of Snargate Lane in Romney Marsh, said he made the manoeuvre after realising he took the wrong route home.

CCTV footage showed Pettifer made no attempt to stop on the hard-shoulder, or exit via a slip road, and continued to drive in lane three.

The incident happened in the early hours of November 29 last year on the coastbound carriageway of the M20 near Ashford.

Michael Copleston, 60, from Hawkinge, suffered serious injuries and died at the scene.

Pettifer held a full driving licence at the time of the incident. Shortly afterwards he underwent and failed an eyesight test.

His licence was subsequently revoked.

He pleaded guilty to death by dangerous driving and was sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court on Monday.

Investigating officer Derek Mole of the Serious Collision Investigation Unit said: “Pettifer was completely unfit to drive and his actions sadly caused the death of a man.

“His decision has now led to an 18 month sentence and I hope that provides some small comfort to the family who lost a loved one.

“Motorists have to hold themselves to account. If you’re unfit to drive don’t step behind the wheel.”

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