two-year-old son Jackson
In November 2012 wife and mother Desreen Brooks was killed by a car as she walked along the pavement in West Hampstead with her son and husband. The driver was an 85-year-old man, Geoffrey Lederman, who allegedly mistook the accelerator for the brake as he sped towards his victims.
Now Mrs Brooks’ widower, Ben Brooks-Dutton, has released an image of his wife’s final moments with her family in a bid to discourage other potentially dangerous drivers from taking to the wheel and running the risk of seriously harming themselves and others.
In the picture Desreen Brooks, who was just 33 when the accident took place, is seen smiling with their two-year-old son, Jackson, who was in a pushchair, and narrowly escaped being harmed or worse, when the incident took place.
Describing the picture, Mr Brooks-Dutton said: “This is the last photo ever taken of my wife with our son together. The paramedics on the scene later that evening had to cut off the jumper she is pictured wearing in order to be able to perform CPR on the pavement where she lay dying.”
Speaking about the impact of the fatal accident on their son, the widower said: “The day after my wife was killed my son was upset that he couldn’t find his scooter... because his scooter was found in the wreckage too.” He continued, “The two-year-old boy who lost his mummy is now four and is still so angry and upset that she can’t come back.”
Explaining his reasons for releasing the image, Mr Brooks-Dutton said, “I keep hearing people say that they know someone who should probably give up driving but that they don’t know how to raise the issue with them. Well maybe I can help with that.”
During mitigation Christopher Donellan QC indicated that this particular incident was part of a wider problem in the UK whereby elderly drivers’ ability to drive is not adequately being monitored. Mr Donellan said: “[Lederman] doesn’t know [that he should not have been driving]. We don’t have a system in this country which properly assesses people. He was on a three-year licence renewal and his doctor didn’t ever suggest he shouldn’t drive.”
Mr Lederman has been convicted of causing death by dangerous driving and has been sentenced to 18 months in prison, banned from driving for life, and issued with a £19,710 fine to be paid within six months.