Tragic Accident at a Wedding Venue
A tragic incident unfolded at a wedding venue when a luxury hotel owner, Nicholas Bannister, allegedly struck and killed Judith Wadsworth, the mother of the bride, just before her daughter’s wedding. The court heard that Bannister’s Range Rover was involved in the fatal incident.
Fatal Accident and Denial of Charges
Judith Wadsworth, a 66-year-old grandmother, tragically lost her life when she was struck by Bannister’s vehicle while fetching boxes in the car park of the Coniston Hotel and Spa in the Yorkshire Dales. The incident occurred on February 7, 2020, moments before the wedding ceremony. Bannister faces charges of causing Mrs. Wadsworth’s death by driving without due care and attention. He vehemently denies these charges.
Sequence of Events
After hitting Mrs. Wadsworth, Bannister continued driving for approximately 20 meters before coming to a stop. Witnesses at the wedding reception area became aware of the terrible situation and rushed outside. Bannister repeatedly claimed that he hadn’t seen Mrs. Wadsworth.
Natasha Hobson-Shaw, an employee of the hotel’s 4×4 Experience, witnessed the incident. She testified in Bradford Crown Court and expressed her belief that Bannister might not have been aware that he had struck anyone but acknowledged that he had unfortunately accelerated. She noted that the lighting conditions were good, and the weather was dry at the time of the incident.
Miss Hobson-Shaw explained that she didn’t need to use her vehicle’s main headlights as she approached Bannister’s Range Rover. She saw Mrs. Wadsworth, wearing a cream-colored coat, in the hotel’s car park, heading toward a pedestrian walkway.
Miss Hobson-Shaw recounted that she initially believed everything would be fine, as she assumed Bannister had seen Mrs. Wadsworth and was slowing down. However, tragedy struck when Mrs. Wadsworth stepped into the path of the Range Rover, and it struck her, knocking her over. Bannister, apparently unaware of the collision, drove off but eventually stopped when Miss Hobson-Shaw rushed to help Mrs. Wadsworth.
Upon stopping, Bannister reportedly asked, “What was that?” Miss Hobson-Shaw immediately informed him that it was a person and called emergency services. Mrs. Wadworth’s daughter, Rebecca Blacker, was in the reception area with other family members at the time of the collision.
The trial is ongoing, with further evidence and testimonies expected to shed light on the tragic incident that occurred just before a wedding ceremony.