Sunderland widow’s relief after driver admits killing her husband by dangerous driving

Family of Neil Hamilton leave tributes at the scene of the crash, near Tow Law, County Durham.
Family of Neil Hamilton leave tributes at the scene of the crash, near Tow Law, County Durham.
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A WIDOW today spoke of her relief after a motorist pleaded guilty to killing her husband by dangerous driving.

Road safety tutor and school teacher Neil Hamilton, 60, of Offerton Close, South Hylton, was killed when his motorcycle was in collision with a Mitsubishi 4X4 driven by Anthony Shelton.

Shelton originally pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving.

But just as his trial was due to get underway yesterday at Durham Crown Court, he changed his plea, admitting the more serious charge of causing death by dangerous driving.

Mr Hamilton’s wife, Christine, was in court supported by her sons Mark and Christopher, friends and family members.

Speaking after the plea was changed, Mrs Hamilton, 55, said: “We feel that justice has been served today.

“We would like to thank the police and CPS for their effort and support during the prosecution of Mr Shelton.

“Whatever sentence he eventually receives will not bring Neil back.

“But we hope Mr Shelton will now reflect on his actions, and understand the impact losing Neil has had on all who knew him.”

The court heard Shelton, 51, of Castle View, Esh Winning, was driving his 4X4 on the B6301 Hedley Lane, near Tow Law, on April 3 last year, when the collision happened.

Stephen Duffield, defending, asked for sentencing to be adjourned for the preparation of a probation report, and for the defence to gather medical and character evidence on behalf of Shelton. Judge Paul Watson QC bailed Shelton to return to court on Friday, March 14. The judge told him: “It is entirely proper for your defence to be given time to put together various documents for the court before you are sentenced.

“In the meantime, you may have bail, but you should not take that as any indication of sentence.

“You have pleaded guilty to a serious offence for which custody is highly likely.”

Motorcycle enthusiast Mr Hamilton was an tutor with RoSPA’s advanced drivers group.

As well as teaching IT, business, science and maths at secondary schools, he freelanced as a project manager and trainer and spent his spare time supporting charities.

The Hylton Hornets biker group raised more than £2,700 in his memory for the Great North Air Ambulance after completing a 1,200 mile ride to Scotland and back. Each of the 25 members paid £500 and donned fancy dress as they took part in the five-day event in November.