Kilburn man on drink drive crash charge flees the country

Kilburn man thought to have fled UK to escape trial

A Kilburn man accused of causing death by dangerous driving in a druken state failed to turn up to his trial yesterday (Monday).

Guildford Crown Court heard claims that Antonio Vital, 24, of Burton Road, Kilburn, was one and a half times over the drink drive limit and doing 60mph in a 30mph zone when he crashed his car on an approach to a roundabout in Epsom, Surrey, shortly before midnight on September 12.

Despite wearing a seatbelt, a man travelling in the front seat died from severe head injuries.

Portuguese Vital, who is believed to be hiding in his homeland, insists he is innocent.

Representing Vital, Mr David Barnes said: “My client maintains he had only taken a few sips of beer before the accident occurred.

“A brake limiting valve had seized up and due to this his car yawed under emergency braking when he was approaching the roundabout.

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“This caused the car to rotate and this meant that when the collision occurred, he did not have the frontal protection of the seat belt.”

The court was told that it was believed that Vital fled to his home village in Portugal towards the end of September.

Prosecutor Alexia Durran asked for the trial to be delayed to allow police to bring Vital back to England.

Judge Critchlow said: “I don’t anticipate his voluntary return, and I believe we are all agreed that this is a deliberate absence.”

Addressing the family of the victim, who had attended court, Judge Critchlow said: “I am mindful and very sympathetic to all considerations of the victim’s family who no doubt want to see this man stand trial.

“If we go ahead in his absence then if he is found guilty I will be forced to pass sentence in his absence.”