A MAN has admitted causing the death of an elderly couple in an horrific head-on crash on the A303 at Buckland St Mary last year by careless driving.

Graham Ian Shearing appeared visibly upset when he appeared in the dock before Somerset Magistrates, sitting at Yeovil, where the public gallery was filled with members of the victims’ and defendant’s families.

The court was told that the husband and wife both died at the scene of the accident which occurred between the Eagle Tavern turning and Honiton on October 31, 2016.

Prosecutor Julyan Stephens said that a police investigation concluded that there was no evidence of speeding or mechanical failure involved in the collision.

He said the only explanation the police could offer was that there had been a momentary lapse of concentration which resulted in the tragic double fatality.

The defendant was said to have told police during his initial interview that the other vehicle may have been partly to blame for the accident, however that statement was later discounted by the police.

Shearing, 33, of Hayes Close, Canford Bottom, Wimborne, pleaded guilty to causing the death of Robert Henry Weston at Buckland St Mary by driving a Nissan Interstar van on the A303 without due care and attention.

He also admitted a second similar charge of causing the death of Brenda Joy Newton by driving without due care and attention on the same date.

Prosecutor Julyan Stephens said that on the day in question Mr and Mrs Newton were driving on the A303 heading westbound between the Eagle Tavern turning and Honiton.

“There was a gentle right-hand bend and Shearing was travelling eastbound when for some reason he lost control on that corner,” he said.

“He collided head-on with the Ford Fiesta being driven by Mr and Mrs Newton who were both killed.

“There is no evidence of speeding or mechanical defect, and the defendant has pleaded guilty in court today.

“The only explanation the police collision report could come to was that there had been a momentary lapse of concentration with fatal and tragic consequences.”

Mr Stephens said there were two aggravating features in the case, the first one being that more than one person was killed.

“Also, when Shearing was interviewed he did suggest that the other party may have been partially at fault for the crash, but there is no evidence that they were responsible in any way,” he added.

He said that a custodial sentence was possible but added that the defendant, who drove for a living, was a man of previous good character and had a clean driving licence.

Defending solicitor Chris Hopkins said that his client fully accepted that he suffered a “momentary lapse of concentration.”

“This very regretfully had very tragic consequences for Mr and Mrs Newton,” he said.

The magistrates said the case was so serious that they directed Shearing should be sent to Taunton Crown Court to be sentenced.

They adjourned the matter until October 20 and in the meantime requested a pre-sentence report to be prepared by the Probation Service to consider all sentencing options, including prison.

Until his next court appearance, the defendant was released on unconditional bail.