Speeding driver jailed after killing loving granddad as he was out for a walk

Lee Miller has been jailed. Lee Miller has been jailed.
Lee Miller has been jailed.
The family has said: “We all miss him every second of every day.”

A speeding driver who killed a loving granddad as he was out for a walk has been put behind bars.

Lee Miller was behind the wheel of a red Honda Civic on February 28, 2021, when he hit the accelerator and hurtled down Forest Hall Road in North Tyneside.

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Collision investigators estimate Miller was travelling at nearly 50mph in a 30mph limit moments before he collided with 80-year-old pedestrian William ‘Bill’ Small, who was crossing the road.

Police and emergency services arrived at the scene and Mr Small, of Forest Hall, was taken to hospital with serious injuries. Sadly, he died in hospital four days later.

Miller, 45, of Laurel Avenue in Palmersville, North Tyneside, was arrested and later charged with causing death by dangerous driving.

He pleaded guilty to the offence earlier this year and today (Friday) appeared at Newcastle Crown Court where he was jailed for six years. He was also handed a five-year disqualification and must pass an extended test before ever legally driving again.

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In a statement prepared for court, Mr Small’s family spoke of the devastating and irreversible impact that the collision – and Miller’s decisions that day – have had on them.

They said: “Bill, dad, granddad – a true gentleman. That’s what people would say about him.

William Small William Small
William Small

“That day our family lost a husband, dad and grandad. He was a loving husband of 51 years, an adoring dad and grandad that adored his three grandchildren.

“We all miss him every second of every day.”

PC Thomas Wade, of Northumbria Police, led the investigation and says the case acts as a harrowing reminder to everyone about the potential consequences of speeding.

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He said: “First and foremost, our thoughts remain with Bill’s family at this absolutely awful time. We sincerely hope they can take some comfort knowing the person responsible for his death is now behind bars.

“That afternoon Bill was out for a walk and should have been safe. He was a vulnerable pedestrian and this incident simply would not have occurred had Miller been adhering to the speed limit.

“Our collision investigators believe Bill would have had plenty of time to reach the other side of the road, had Miller’s vehicle been going at 30mph – the legal limit for that road. But he was going significantly over that in the lead up to the collision.

“By ignoring the speed limit and hitting the accelerator, Miller rolled the dice with this man’s life – and the consequences are irreversible.

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“I sincerely hope this incredibly sad and harrowing case sends a strong reminder to all motorists across the North East and beyond. Our roads are not race tracks and the law is not optional – speed limits are ultimately there to save lives.

“Please do not take the risk and potentially destroy more than one life forever. Please be considerate of all other road users, including pedestrians, and be aware of your surroundings at all times while behind the wheel.”