Man who did not stop and report fatal collision

A MAN from Anglesey has received a suspended sentence after being found guilty of failing to stop after fatal accident – and not reporting the incident to police.

Peter Ball, 47, from Llanrhyddlad, appeared before Chester Magistrates’ Court last week.

A man, 38-year-old Stuart Farnell, from the Stockport area, died following the incident, which was on the A5025 on the evening of February 19, 2021.

Ball received a 22-week prison sentence, suspended for two years, and was ordered to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work.

He was also disqualified from driving for 12 months, and ordered to pay £775 in costs.

Gareth Farnell, younger brother of Stuart, read out a victim impact statement at Chester Magistrates Court on Friday.

Addressing Ball, he said: “Maybe it’s true you didn’t know you hit a person. Maybe he was still alive. Was he in pain? Was he scared? Was he cold? We will never know. In any case, you drove on.

“(If you had stopped), as horrible as we would still have felt, we would not have blamed you. Our attitude to you would have been entirely different. You have done all you can to avoid responsibility.

“You tried to ensure your own protection. We can’t forgive that.”

The court heard Ball had caring responsibilities for his father and son, and their lives would be more difficult if Ball was handed immediate imprisonment.

Sentencing, District Judge Nicholas Sanders said: “The evidence would suggest that the accident was unavoidable in view of the weather conditions, he was walking on the near side of the road, wearing dark clothing.

“We do know it was your van that struck him. Very sadly, he died in that accident.

“We will never know if you had been in a position to save him. We will never know because you did not stop.”

Following the sentencing, the District Judge expressed sympathy and condolences to the family of Farnell, and commended them for their dignity during the court case.

“This is not easy,” he said. “He was not charged with the standard of driving, but his conduct after.” 

Sgt Meurig Jones, lead investigating officer from North Wales Police’s Roads Policing Unit, said: “This was a detailed and complex forensic investigation over many months.

“It enabled us to prove that Peter Ball would have known that his vehicle, which had suffered extensive damage, had collided with Stuart Farnell and not a tree branch, as Ball had reported to police.

“He made no effort to stop at the scene to check on Mr Farnell’s welfare or to see if he could have provided any first aid or call for the emergency services.

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“He chose not to stop and continued towards his home. He did not report his involvement in the collision until 21 hours had passed post collision.

“Mr Farnell’s family are extremely grateful for the investigation team’s work and for their support through the investigation and court process.

“They would also like to pass on their appreciation to those members of the public who did stop and went to Stuart’s aid.

“Sadly, nothing could be done to save Mr Farnell’s life. They are distraught at Stuart’s loss as he leaves behind a 13-year-old daughter.

“Our profound sympathies remain with them all.

“As we now approach the autumn and winter months, I would like to take this opportunity to remind pedestrians of the importance of complying with Highway Code guidance regarding walking on a carriageway during the hours of darkness.

“Ensure that you can be seen, wear light or fluorescent clothing, walk on the correct side of the carriageway and use a torch or have some means of lighting.

“More importantly, if you can, arrange for transport and do not place yourself at risk.”

A 47-year-old man and 53-year-old woman, who were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in relation to this incident, remain under investigation.

North Wales Chronicle | Anglesey