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Pensioner admits dangerous driving charge after teacher hurt at Cumbrian tourist attraction

Keith Robert Dootson outside Carlisle Crown Court

A PENSIONER will be sentenced next month after he admitted his dangerous driving caused serious injury to a secondary school teacher in a South Cumbria tourist attraction car park.

Keith Robert Dootson, 77, faced two charges when he appeared at Carlisle Crown Court this morning (MON).

Dootson admitted causing serious injury to Adele Sandra Nicholl by dangerous driving. Ms Nicholl is said to have been hurt and taken to hospital after being hit by Dootson’s Toyota Yaris at Sizergh Castle car park, near Kendal, on July 17, 2017. She is said to have been with a large group of students from Kirkbie Kendal School who were taking part in a walk.

During today’s short court hearing, Dootson pleaded not guilty to a second charge alleging that his dangerous driving caused serious injury to a school pupil. A prosecutor said the pleas entered by the pensioner – himself a former teacher and a man of previous good character – were acceptable, and confirmed no trial would be required.

Dootson’s case was adjourned, and he is due to be sentenced for the one offence he does admit on April 26. An interim driving ban was imposed by Judge James Adkin. However, the court heard Dootson hadn’t driven since an incident his lawyer stated was “borne out of panic”, and had also surrendered his licence.

Judge Adkin ordered the preparation of a full probation service pre-sentence report, noting the circumstances of the case were “very unusual”, and that a “very serious” offence had been admitted.

“The court always takes allegations of dangerous driving seriously, and so I need to think very carefully about what sentence I am going to pass in due course,” said the judge.

Dootson, of Scot Lane, Aspull, near Wigan, was granted bail until his sentencing hearing, and was told by Judge Adkin: “All options are open.”

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