Family agony as driver avoids jail

Jack and Anita Reuben

Jack and Anita Reuben

The family of a pensioner who was killed after being hit by a van have spoken of their anguish after the driver avoided a jail term.

Jack Reuben died 48 hours after the collision in North London in July 2007. The 78-year-old was vice-president of cricket club London Maccabi Vale for almost 50 years and had served as a football referee in the Maccabi Southern Football League. His wife Anita survived but suffered serious injuries.

Darren Talbot, 34, of Hatfield, was given a one-year driving ban, £750 fine and ordered to pay £250 costs at Wood Green Crown Court last Friday.

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.

Mr Reuben’s son, Russell, said the family had been advised that a custodial sentence was likely.

“After all the evidence and the experts talking about the damage to the vehicle and where the blood was and so on, you would think he would have been given a jail sentence.”

One juror was dismissed during the trial after he was discovered to have downloaded pages of information about road collisions from the internet.

Mr and Mrs Reuben, who were members of Edgware United Synagogue, were hit while crossing Whetstone High Road after leaving a restaurant with friends.

They had moved to a new home in Bushey Heath, Hertfordshire, eight weeks before the incident.

Sue McVay, wife of bandleader Ray McVay, was also injured and spent 12 days in hospital following the crash.

Mr Reuben Jr added: “We never even got an apology from the driver. My father was hit at such a speed that most of his organs were smashed or crushed.

“Mum has never been quite the same. She had a fractured skull, which has badly affected her hearing, and she now walks with a permanent limp. She also has a steel plate in her arm.”

Khalid Sheikh, Crown Prosecution Service reviewing lawyer, said: “Although Darren Talbot was prosecuted with causing death by careless driving, the jury convicted him of the lesser offence.

“Careless driving does not fall into the range of offences which the CPS can send to the Attorney General for her to consider referring as an unduly lenient sentence.

“Once again, I’d like to extend my condolences to family and friends of Mr Reuben for their loss in such tragic circumstances.”

    Last updated: 2:17pm, February 26 2009