Driver in court accused of killing pedestrian

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A DRIVER accused of causing the death of a pedestrian made his first appearance at crown court.

Pantelimon Iordache, 37, a Romanian living in South View, Bearpark, Durham City, is alleged to be the driver of a car which knocked down and killed Dean Laing in the early hours of last Saturday morning.

Mr Laing, 37, is thought to have been walking to his home in Gilesgate, Durham City, when he was struck by a car in Claypath, near the junction with Providence Row.

Prosecutor David Wilkinson told Durham Crown Court Iordache is accused of causing death by dangerous driving.

“He is also charged with leaving the scene of an accident,” Mr Wilkinson added. “The charges are not ready to be put to the defendant today, but a timetable for the case can be set.”

Judge Paul Sloan QC adjourned the case until January 14 when Iordache will be expected to enter a plea.

Judge Sloan set a provisional trial date of March 11, and remanded Iordache in custody.

A woman in the court’s public gallery sobbed quietly during the short hearing.

Other members of the public hurled abuse at Iordache as he was led to the cells.

Well-wishers left flowers, a pair of boxing gloves and a photograph in Claypath.

Mr Laing, a former boxer, had been working on the railways in Warwickshire before moving back to Durham earlier this year to live with his mother and father.

Mr Laing’s partner, Louise Blenkinsopp, 45, said the couple were planning to set up home together before Christmas in her house in Seaham.