St John’s Wood driver, 86, jailed for killing mum in West Hampstead loses appeal against conviction

Geoffrey Lederman has lost his appeal. Picture: Dieter Perry

Geoffrey Lederman has lost his appeal. Picture: Dieter Perry - Credit: Archant

A pensioner from St John’s Wood who killed a young mother in front of her husband and toddler after careering onto a pavement in West Hamptead has failed in an Appeal Court bid to clear his name.

Desreen Brooks and her husband Ben Dutton

Desreen Brooks and her husband Ben Dutton - Credit: Archant

Retired stockbroker, Geoffrey Lederman, of Hamilton Terrace, was driving home from a bridge tournament when he confused the pedals of the car and hit the accelerator instead of the brake.

The 86-year-old’s car mounted the kerb at speed outside West Hampstead tube station, striking and killing 33-year-old Desreen Brooks.

The vintage Mercedes narrowly missed her husband, Ben Brooks-Dutton, who managed to steer the pushchair carrying his two-year-old son to safety.

Another pedestrian, 23-year-old American student, Amy Werner, was also hit by the car and suffered brain damage and the loss of sight in her right eye as a result.

Lederman was found guilty of causing Mrs Brooks’ death by dangerous driving at Blackfriars Crown Court.

He was jailed for 18 months and banned from driving for life in December last year.

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But his sentence was later cut to 12 months at the Appeal Court, after judges said it was possible to show ‘mercy’ because of his deteriorating mental health.

The pensioner’s lawyers today returned to the Appeal Court to challenge the jury’s guilty verdict.

They argued his mental capacity was impaired at the time of his trial and he was therefore unfit to stand trial.

They said updated reports from medical experts supported the case that he was unwell at the time of the crown court case.

However, his appeal was rejected by the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Thomas, sitting with Mr Justice Simon and Mrs Justice Patterson.

The judges will give their reasons for dismissing the appeal at a later date.

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