Duck shoot driver ‘unaware’ of death

Crash scene The area on Oldfield Carr Lane, Poulton, where Paul Brindle was hit by a vehicle
Crash scene The area on Oldfield Carr Lane, Poulton, where Paul Brindle was hit by a vehicle
Have your say

A man who was so drunk he knocked over a 16 stone man in his transit van and killed him without knowing, a court heard.

Prosecutors say Robert Valiant spent an evening drinking with friends after a duck shoot in Poulton in September 2012 and drove home, hitting and killing Paul Brindle.

He is accused of leaving the scene after the accident, seemingly unaware he had hit Mr Brindle – who was 6ft tall and weighed 16 stone.

Valiant, 30, of Evesham Road, Normoss, denies causing death by dangerous driving when unfit through drink and an alternative charge of causing death by dangerous driving.

Prosecuting at Preston Crown Court yesterday, Paul Brookwell said Valiant and Mr Brindle, 35, were among around 20 people who took part in the duck shoot at Shire Farm, on Oldfield Carr Lane, Poulton, which is owned by Valiant’s father, on September 20, 2012.

He said: “It was the third shoot to be arranged that season, and it was customary that food and drink would be consumed afterwards in a cabin on the farm. It was, by all accounts, a friendly atmosphere.

“By about 12.30am there appears to be something of a hard core left within the shed. In fact, the crown says the defendant was very drunk and vomited in the cabin because of the amount of drink he had consumed.”

Mr Brookwell said shortly after Valiant fell ill the group drew the evening to an end. He said Valiant was seen getting into his Ford Transit van, while Mr Brindle set off walking along Old Field Carr Lane.

A short time later one member of the group was driving home along the road when he saw an object.

He pulled his car over, and when he got out he realised it was Mr Brindle. Another member of the group was walking along the road to meet a taxi and also saw Mr Brindle in the road.

Paramedics rushed him to Blackpool Victoria Hospital, where he died at 1.50am.

The following morning, while carrying out an investigation into the incident, police officers called at Valiant’s home.

Mr Brookwell said they discovered Mr Brindle’s blood and fibres from his clothes on the underside of Valiant’s van.

He said further examination of the vehicle revealed wipe marks under the vehicle.

He added: “When the defendant was interviewed by police he agreed that he had driven his van home from the farm.

“He agreed he had been drinking and said that he was fit to drive. He said he had consumed two cans of Budweiser, three ciders and two or three shots of gin or port.

“He said he was not drunk and denied being sick.

“He said had he been aware of being involved in an accident he would have stopped.”