Maccabi referee was 'unlawfully killed;'

A pensioner who was hit by a van as he crossed a road after enjoying a night out with his wife and friends was unlawfully killed, a coroner has ruled.

Jack Reuben died 48 hours after the collision in north London in July 2007.

The 78-year-old was vice-president of London Maccabi Vale cricket club for almost 50 years, and had served as a football referee in the Maccabi Southern Football League.

Mr Reuben and his wife Anita, who were members of Edgware Synagogue, were hit while crossing Whetstone High Road after leaving a restaurant.

Mrs Reuben suffered serious injuries. Her friend, Sue McVay, wife of bandleader Ray McVay, was also injured and spent 12 days in hospital.

Following the inquest, held last Thursday at Barnet Coroners’ Court, Mr Reuben’s son Mark said: “We wanted closure and this verdict has given us that. Dad did nothing wrong. He was scooped up and killed by an idiot.”

The court was shown a video of an interview with Mrs Reuben in which she said she could recall nothing of the collision. She remembered having coffee in the restaurant, but her next memory was of waking up in hospital the following day.

Witnesses who gave evidence included Mrs McVay and a group of doctors and nurses from Barnet General Hospital who had been in a restaurant close to the scene of the collision.

They had rushed to treat Mr Reuben and the other victims.

In February, driver Darren Talbot, of Hatfield, was given a one-year driving ban, £750 fine and ordered to pay £250 costs following a trial at Wood Green Crown Court. He had pleaded not guilty to a charge of death by careless driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and was convicted on a lesser charge of careless driving.

Talbot was questioned at the inquest but refused to answer a number of questions put to him by the Reuben family’s private barrister.

Mark Reuben said the family would not be taking civil action against Talbot.

He said: “The driver has shown no remorse, there has been no apology. He will suffer because he will struggle to get insurance and it’s on record that this was unlawful killing. All he had to do was come over to my mother and say ‘Mrs Reuben, I cannot believe what I have done.’

“There were more than 600 people at dad’s stone-setting. My mother decided then that she must carry on her life and miraculously has done that.”

    Last updated: 4:42pm, November 26 2009