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Canterbury: Peter Price in court for knocking down girl in Wingham High Street

A five-year-old girl struck by an elderly motorist who ignored a red light regained consciousness and whispered: “Daddy, am I dying?”

The youngster was propelled 30ft when she was hit by a car being driven by 79-year-old retired debt collector Peter Price in Wingham High Street.

Her family witnessed the horror accident and feared she was dead, but she escaped with a broken pelvis.

Wingham High Street. Picture: Instant Street View
Wingham High Street. Picture: Instant Street View

The girl - who cannot be named for legal reasons - had been using the pedestrian crossing with her mum and two other children opposite The Anchor pub as Price returned home from work.

A judge at Canterbury Crown Court heard how the former army driving instructor failed to see either the red lights or the family.

His Citroen Picasso clipped one of the children before knocking the five-year-old down the street – heard by her father who was working nearby.

Prosecutor Claire Cooper said he heard a “screech of tyres and a thud” and ran to the lifeless child believing she was dead.

She was unconscious for 30 seconds as her father shook her to bring her round.

“He thought that she was dead,” the prosecutor told the court.

“When she came round she said ‘Daddy, my legs hurt. Daddy, am I dying?’.”

Peter Price
Peter Price

Judge Rupert Lowe heard the girl was in hospital for three days, suffered headaches for weeks and was left fearing the dark.

Even months after the accident, the father revealed how when his daughter was told Price had pleaded guilty to the driving offence, she asked him “if that meant he wouldn’t be coming into her room anymore?”.

Ms Cooper said on the day of the accident the mother and three children had arrived at the crossing and one of the children pressed the button to cross.

As the green light came on, the family paused before crossing and the five-year-old was three-quarters across the road when she was struck by the Citroen.

The prosecutor said that as the parents went to the aid of the children, Price claimed the lights were on green for vehicles – which was not true.

“He had approached the crossing and rather than slowing or stopping, just proceeded and struck the child,” she said.

Judge Lowe added: “He just didn’t perceive the red lights, he didn’t perceive a young family crossing. It was like nothing was there. It was a complete failure of perception.”

The case was heard at Canterbury Crown Court
The case was heard at Canterbury Crown Court

The court heard that other road users and passers-by all saw the red lights – and when confronted by police Price claimed “everybody was against me”.

Judge Lowe later told him he was disappointed the pensioner had showed no empathy or remorse.

Price, of Hollowmede, Wincheap, was given a nine-month jail sentence, suspended for a year, after pleading guilty to causing serious injury by driving dangerously.

His lawyer, Phil Rowley, told the hearing: “He recognises and now accepts categorically that the failing was solely his.”

He said Price had not seen the lights as his attention was on a vehicle turning along the road.

The former Telecom engineer and debt collector for Southern Water has since returned his driving licence and has given up driving for good.

The judge took the unusual step of ordering Price to pay the family £3,500 compensation, saying if they wished, it could be used to pay for a holiday or something for the benefit of the young girl.

Price was told to pay a £500 fine and given a six-year driving ban, but the judge said he hoped he would never drive again.

After the hearing, Price attempted to shake the hands of the parents as they left the court but they brushed him aside without a word.

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