A MAN accused of careless driving told the jury he had not been speeding before he crashed at a pub car park and killed a father. Daniel Freeman Hollins denies causing death by careless driving and, while uninsured and without a licence, at his trial at Worcester Crown Court.

The 20-year-old of Swinyard Road, Malvern crashed at the Robin Hood pub, Gloucester Road, Castlemorton at 7.30pm on Friday, May 24 last year. After veering off the road, his car struck two parked cars, including that of Raymond Johnstone, 72, before the victim and vehicle were dragged into a timber and brick building which collapsed on top of him.

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At his trial yesterday Freeman Hollins took to the stand and was questioned at length about the crash. The prosecution say that, in the moments before the crash, after the Raymond Johnstone’s daughter-in-law Ruth Johnstone edged out of the pub carpark, the defendant was speeding and he lost control of the vehicle as he left the road to avoid her.

Harpreet Sandhu, prosecuting, said: “It is the case you simply did not have enough time to see the hazard and react to it.” Freeman Hollins replied: “I did have enough time. When I first saw her car I started to go right, then I turned left (off the road).”

Mr Sandhu said: “You came round that corner not travelling at 50mph (the speed limit on that stretch of road) but at a speed over 50mph.” “No,” the defendant replied. “You were speeding,” the prosecutor said. “I was not speeding,” Freeman Hollins answered. “You didn’t use your breaks,” the prosecutor then said. “I did,” the defendant replied. “That’s why there were no skidmarks (on the road),” Mr Sandhu said. “I did use my brakes, I may have come off just before impact,” Freeman Hollins replied.

In interview the defendant told officers it had been the first time he had driven the Suzuki Liana, bought a week before, which was untrue, which he later admitted. Speaking about the first interview Freeman Hollins said his head had been “a mess”, and he chose not to have a solicitor, adding it had been scary. “I wanted to get it all over and done with,” he added.

Freeman Hollins’ girlfriend, Katie Carver told the court she felt safe in the car and her boyfriend had not been driving fast, and she closed her eyes in the moments before impact. But she broke down in tears as Mr Sandhu accused her of lying for her boyfriend. “No,” she replied.

Judge Nicholas Cartwright told the jury it is accepted that Freeman Hollins had no valid licence and was uninsured, but what is “in dispute” is whether or not he drove without due care and attention. The trial continues.