Former town crier admits causing the death of his partner in a road accident and is warned he faces jail

PUBLISHED: 16:19 19 October 2018 | UPDATED: 16:19 19 October 2018

Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Alex Walton

Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Alex Walton


A former town crier from Topsham who admitted causing the death of his partner in a road accident in which she fell out of her wheelchair, has been warned he faces jail.

Keith Smith, aged 74, of Bowd Court, Sidmouth, admitted dangerous driving and having no insurance when he appeared at Exeter Crown Court.

He admitted causing the death of Maureen King, aged 63, who was injured when thrown from a wheelchair in the back of a specially adapted vehicle.

The incident happened at the Countess Wear Roundabout on September 3 last year when Smith was driving Mrs King back to their former home in Denver Road, Topsham.

He drove home but called the emergency services after finding she was seriously injured.

Paramedics called the police because he was drunk and he later gave a breath test of 92 microgrammes, more than twice the limit of 35.

Mr Barry White, defending, said the case is highly unusual and related to the death of someone who had been Smith’s partner for 30 years.

He said Smith had driven the same route many times with Mrs King, who was his partner of 30 years. He said it was her decision not to wear a seatbelt.

He said there was no direct evidence to link the minor accident, which caused the injuries, with Smith’s intoxication.

Mr William Hunter, prosecuting, said the key issue in the case is whether the wheelchair was anchored at the time of the incident.

Smith told police at the time that Mrs King, who suffered from multiple sclerosis, was thrown from her un-tethered wheelchair after a car in front of him braked sharply and he stopped to avoid a collision.

Smith is a retired businessman and he and Maureen ran the former Denleys Wine Bar in Topsham for several years before it became an Indian restaurant.

He is also a former town crier in Topsham.

Judge Peter Johnson adjourned sentencing until November 9 and released Smith on bail.

He told Smith “I am granting bail essentially for you to put your affairs in order. “The almost inevitable sentence is one of immediate custody.”

Other News Stories

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Photographer, Luke Hopkins, shares his superb nature photos of the amazing wildlife to be found in and around Exmouth.

Read more
Friday, November 16, 2018

A jealous party guest from Exmouth who lashed out with a glass after seeing another woman talking to her ex boyfriend has been spared jail.

Read more
Friday, November 16, 2018

East Devon District Council is hopeful that eight homeless people will be housed in a former bed and breakfast before Christmas.

Read more
Friday, November 16, 2018

Bill ‘from Exmouth’ broke down in tears explaining to radio host James O’Brien that regretted his decision to vote to leave the EU.

Read more
Friday, November 16, 2018

East Budleigh’s churchyard has won recognition in a Devon-wide competition for creating a haven for wildlife and people.

Read more
Friday, November 16, 2018

Bluebird Care Exmouth’s in-home service has been rated Outstanding by the independent regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Read more
Friday, November 16, 2018

Fundraising for charity proved a piece of cake for staff at Exmouth’s Specsavers when they raised awareness of sight loss.

Read more
Thursday, November 15, 2018

A man from Exmouth has been jailed for throwing a hamster and its cage at his wife during a terrifying attack.

Read more
Thursday, November 15, 2018

An Exmouth community group set up to encourage people to exercise raised thousands of pounds and awareness for the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MND) with a dinner and dance evening.

Read more
Thursday, November 15, 2018

An Exmouth fish and chip shop has received national recognition for being a top place to work.

Read more

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Local Weather

Sunshine and Showers

Sunshine and Showers

max temp: 9°C

min temp: 2°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Advertise in the Paper
Submit a Story
Subscriptions Order
Photo Orders
Family notices
Google Plus
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Read the Exmouth Journal e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Exmouth Journal twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Show Job Lists

Find planning applications