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Pensioner denies being excessively tired before two-car Lakes crash

Anthony Lonton outside Carlisle Crown Court

A PENSIONER accused of badly injuring two women in a head-on Lake District crash by dangerous driving has given evidence to a jury.

Anthony Lonton, 78, is on trial at Carlisle Crown Court. He denies one charge which arises out of a two-car 5-30pm crash on the A591 at Thirlmere in July, 2015. This alleges Lonton caused serious injury to his Kia Cee’d passenger, Sybil Parker, and also Rebecca Pattinson – the passenger in an oncoming Seat – by dangerous driving.

The prosecution alleges Lonton, a retired academic, drove his car knowing he was tired and shouldn’t be behind the wheel.

A jury at Carlisle Crown Court has heard Ms Parker suffered a “catalogue” of injuries, while Mrs Pattinson, who was 38 weeks’ pregnant, underwent an emergency Caesarean section after the crash, and woke to learn her baby daughter hadn’t survived.

This afternoon (WED), Lonton, of Carriage Drive, Windermere, gave evidence about a day out with Ms Parker to the Scottish Border. An active and fit non-drinker and non-smoker, he recalled waking a second before the impact; he accepted he must have fallen asleep and admitted being at fault for the crash.

“Were you tired?” his barrister, James Macadam, asked.

“No. I felt mentally alert,” Lonton replied. “I suppose towards the end of the journey I might have felt mildly physically or pleasantly tired, as one does at the end of a day out. But there were absolutely no feelings of fatigue, no feelings of sleepiness, (or) excessive tiredness.”

The trial continues.

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