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WATCH: Shocking footage of Leonard Pettifer, 86, driving wrong way down the motorway

By Sean Axtell

This shocking video reveals the moment an 86-year-old man drove the wrong way down a motorway moments before killing a hero ex-policeman.

Leonard Pettifer was at the wheel of his Ford Ka when it struck 60-year-old former police officer Michael Copleston, from Hawkinge, on the coast-bound carriageway near Ashford in November.

The court was shown this footage of Pettifer driving London-bound between junctions 9 and 10, despite cars flashing at him for almost three miles, before Mr Copleston's motorbike "somersaulted" over his Ford Ka.

Additionally, the court heard how Pettifer, by his own admission, wasn't wearing glasses and the windows of his car, apart from the windscreen, were covered in ice.

The court heard Mr Copleston was travelling above the speed limit, but Judge Heather Norton said it was "irrelevant".

Sentencing him earlier this week, she told Pettifer: "A collision was not caused by the speed of his motorbike, it was caused by your car driving the wrong way on the motorway.

David Copleston and wife Pauline

David Copleston and wife Pauline

He was sentenced to 32 months, of which 16 must be spent in prison.

Mr Copleston's heartbroken widow Pauline told in her witness impact statement how she has been forced to sell their Hawkinge home, with Mr Copleston being the "breadwinner".

She also urged the DVLA to carry out a review of all drivers over 70, to prevent another tragedy.

She added: "That night, at around 1.30am I tried to call his mobile. Then the front door went and it was the beginning of my whole life shattering.

"We would have been married for 40 years now."

Leonard Pettifer

Leonard Pettifer

The court heard how Pettifer, who admitted causing death by driving dangerously, had since shown remorse.

Mr Copleston was a devoted husband to his wife Pauline of 39 years, a father to two and grandfather to four.

He served in the Metropolitan Police for three decades and was an advanced motorcycle and car instructor who trained other officers in road safety.

Investigating officer Derek Mole of the Serious Collision Investigation Unit commented after the hearing.

He said: "Pettifer was completely unfit to drive and his actions sadly caused the death of a man.

"His decision has now led to a 16 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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