Elderly driver, 83, was ‘muddled’ when he killed young mum in collision

PUBLISHED: 09:00 10 December 2014

Geoffrey Lederman outside Blackfriars Crown Court. Picture: Dieter Perry.

Geoffrey Lederman outside Blackfriars Crown Court. Picture: Dieter Perry.

Dieter Perry

An 83-year-old driver is likely to have been “muddled” and “confused” due to a heart problem when he lost control of his car and ploughed into a young mother, a trial heard this week.

Desreen Brooks and husband Ben Brooks-Dutton.Desreen Brooks and husband Ben Brooks-Dutton.

Geoffrey Lederman suffers from a heart condition, known as arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat, which may have caused him to veer onto a pavement in West Hampstead and kill Desreen Brooks, a medical expert told Blackfriars Crown Court on Monday.

Consultant neurologist Dr Dominic Heaney, who examined Lederman after the incident, said he believed a loss of blood flow to the brain, caused by an arrhythmia, accounted for the pensioner’s erratic driving.

Lederman is accused of causing the death of Ms Brooks, 33, and seriously injuring another woman, Amy Werner, by dangerous driving on November 10, 2012.

Ms Werner, an American student who was 23 at the time, suffered serious injuries which were considered life-threatening at the time and left her with no sight in her right eye.

Lederman also scraped a pram carrying Ms Brook’s two-year-old son Jackson, which her husband Ben Brooks-Dutton managed to steer clear of the oncoming car, according to prosecutor Tom Kark QC.

The court heard that CCTV footage of the moments before the collision showed Lederman stopping outside West Hampstead Tube station before pulling off at high speed, which Dr Heaney described as looking like “confused behaviour, the behaviour of someone who is slightly muddled”.

Dr Heaney said there was evidence of Lederman’s urinary incontinence at the scene and the pensioner could not remember “20 to 25 seconds” leading up to the collision, which were both indicative of a confused state.

Lederman, now 85, had been returning home to Hamilton Terrace, in Maida Vale, after playing in a seven-hour bridge tournament on the night of the incident.

Firefighters had to cut him out of his 1982 Mercedes before he was taken to hospital.

Last week, Mr Kark argued Lederman lost control of his car and ran into a pedestrian-packed pavement in West End Lane at around 8.30pm because he confused the accelerator for the break.

He denies there is any evidence Lederman was suffering from a “medical aberration”.

Lederman has been allowed not to attend his own trial due to health reasons.

He denies causing death by dangerous driving and GBH. The trial continues.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 17:52

Community groups are celebrating after the owners of the “landmark” Alliance pub in West Hampstead had planning permission for extensive remodelling and redevelopment refused.

Yesterday, 14:09

Twenty-five people, including eleven in Camden, have been charged with drugs offences after two-days of dawn raids in Camden, Islington, Brent and Lambeth.

Yesterday, 13:32

Sardonic, sarcastic and funny are three of the words that have been used to describe the late-SOAS lecturer and King’s Cross local Prof Lawrence Saez, who died at the beginning of September.

Yesterday, 12:49

Jamie Brown of Archant Local Impact explains how you can build brand awareness.

Thu, 19:01

This year’s Remembrance Day will see a remarkable multi-faith ceremony bring together the Highgate community to remember the horrors of the First World War on the centenary of its conclusion.

Thu, 16:43

Christmas came early for activists in West Hampstead last night after Camden Council refused to grant christmas tree sellers Pines and Needles a licence to trade from Fortune Green.

Thu, 15:00

“Zero-hours” critical care nurses at the Royal Free Trust are facing a pay cut that could set them back thousands of pounds a year, the Ham&High can reveal.


Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now