Appeal court slashes jail term of pensioner driver who killed young mum Desreen

Geoffrey Lederman leaving Blackfriers Crown Court after an earlier court hearing. Picture: Dieter Pe

Geoffrey Lederman leaving Blackfriers Crown Court after an earlier court hearing. Picture: Dieter Perry - Credit: Dieter Perry

A pensioner who killed a young mother in front of her husband and toddler after careering onto a pavement in his vintage Mercedes has had his jail term cut by a third - after top judges decided to show him “mercy”.

Desreen Brooks and her husband Ben Brooks-Dutton

Desreen Brooks and her husband Ben Brooks-Dutton - Credit: Archant

Retired stockbroker Geoffrey Lederman was driving home from a bridge tournament when he confused the pedals of his car and hit the accelerator instead of the brake.

The 85-year-old’s car mounted the kerb at speed outside West Hampstead Tube station and narrowly missed Ben Brooks-Dutton, who managed to steer the pushchair carrying his two-year-old son to safety.

His wife, Desreen Brooks, 33, was struck and killed instantly.

Another pedestrian, American student Amy Werner, 23, was also hit by the car and suffered brain damage and the loss of sight in her right eye as a result.


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Lederman, of Hamilton Terrace, St John’s Wood, was jailed for 18 months and banned from driving for life at Blackfriars Crown Court.

He was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.

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But his sentence was reduced to 12 months on Tuesday by judges sitting at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, who said it was possible to show “mercy” because of his deteriorating mental health.

Mrs Justice Thirlwall said the court was struck by the fact Mr Brooks-Dutton accepted that Lederman had also suffered and wished him no ill will.

The court heard Lederman, who appeared by video-link from Thameside prison, had made a suicide attempt before he was charged, which saw him admitted to psychiatric hospital for two weeks.

His wife is also too ill to visit him in prison.

Sitting with Lord Justice Treacy and Mrs Justice Swift, Mrs Justice Thirlwall said: “Having considered all matters urged upon us, we are satisfied that in the particular circumstances of this case and the effect on the appellant of the last month, it would be appropriate to reduce the sentence.

“We are not persuaded that this is a case in which the sentence should be suspended.”

Lederman’s lifetime driving ban remains in place.

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